I watch the constant heaping of praise and agreement for Edward Snowden's actions and am dumbfounded over and over.
I understand my last post really really angered Snowden's fanboys and expect this one will also generate substantial interest.
Go ahead and have at it...But here a few points of fact and recommendations to implement real surveillance reforms vice reflexive Obama bashing.
I complain all the time about the right wingers who lurch from one supposed moral outrage to the next. Yet the response to the Snowden story has convinced me that we on the left have elements that enjoy this same diet of outrage without facts.
Edward Snowden is a criminal who broke the law. In my opinion he is also a coward and traitor. Yes a court will try and convict him but he will almost assuredly spend the remainder of his life in jail.
In some folk's imaginations he will wing his way to a South American country to drink Margarita's and thumb his nose at America.
All without a passport..or transportation...Yeah..That's likely to happen.
For those who live in a bubble and think that the US gathering intelligence is somehow a bad thing....
Every country spies on every other country... Regardless of whether those countries are friends or enemies. If this is a new fact to you then you need to get out more.
The reason for all this spying is that each country wants to have as much information as possible on everyone else. Many times this data is not used or acted upon but it helps countries understand each other and sometimes eliminate confusion.
All countries do it and none of them desire to publicly talk about it. However Snowden's public claims that the US surveils the EU, the Chinese, Russia, and everyone anywhere has given those countries tool to use against America. Yes 99.99% of this is simply embarrasment for the Obama administration. It still aids and abeits our enemies.
If you think that Russia and China have not downloaded every bit of the data on the 4 laptops Snowden stole then you are beyond naive.
So I think a review of what Snowden and Greenwald's "Bombshells" is once again in order.
1. Collection of Metadata. Yes NSA collects data that is authorized under the patriot act section 215. You think this is overreach? You want to change it? Great...so do I.... Lets support Senator Wyden and Leahy's efforts to hold hearings and change the law.
2. Snowden and Greenwald claimed that NSA had "Direct Access" to tech companies servers and could access your data without a warrant. That is simply untrue...As Verizon stated the practice of establishing a FTP folder as a location for data provided as part of a court order is not "Direct Access" .
I would have thought that a highly trained "System Administrator" would know that.....
3. Phone Data collected under a FISC court order using Stellar Wind and Prizm are legal under the patriot act.
You do not like it...You think the FISC Courts are a sham or "Shadow Judiciary"?
Then Support lawmakers who want to change the current system...Help take the house back in 2014....
I would much prefer to hold hearings on FISC, NSA and the Patriot act than listen to idiotic Darrel Issa go on about "Benghazi"
So how about rather than calling for Snowden's pardon we throw the weight of the orange masses behind things that might actually result in change.
I know that takes time and does not feel as good as a righteous rant but that's life
One last note....Google, Amazon, Face Book and any company or merchant you have ever swiped your credit card with has way more information about you than the NSA....You do know this?