Tag Archive | "NSA leak"

Edward Snowden: Patriot or Traitor?

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In the scandal-a-day political milieu that has become the second term of the Obama Administration, truth appears to be a relative concept.  Historians, with the advantage of hindsight, will undoubtedly have a better perspective on the impact of current revelations that have cast doubt on the direction that our country is taking.


As the American public collectively scratches its head over issues of domestic and foreign intrigue, many Americans are coming to the conclusion that our citizens are losing their personal freedoms and our country is losing its sovereignty to the relentless advance of globalism


While maintaining a free society undoubtedly requires “eternal vigilance,” Americans must – for our society to function – have more than a modicum of trust in our government officials, judiciary, law enforcement, and military.  Our Founding Fathers, distrustful of the abuses of centralized power, placed limits upon the federal government in our Constitution and enumerated individual rights and freedoms in the accompanying Bill of Rights.


Yet today, our government operates under a cloak of secrecy at a level that appears beyond that required to protect us from our enemies, a level above that which is needed to keep state secrets, a level that appears designed to shield the American public from the missteps, indiscretions, and power grabs of our elected and non-elected leaders of all political persuasions.


As large numbers of Americans, whether unemployed or under-employed, are still reeling from the Great Recession, each of our political parties appear to have its own agenda.  Both Democrats and Republicans seem intent on driving their own political positions, to the detriment of the American people.  Each party, it seems, has their own cable news network to spin their positions and those of their political adversaries.  The truth, lying somewhere in the middle of the extremes of liberalism and conservatism, is lost.


The question of truth arises in yet the latest scandal, arising from the leaking of information about NSA espionage involving telecommunications and emails of American citizens by a low-level employee of a government contractor.  Is the young man, Edward Snowden, who had access and leaked this information a hero whistleblower, a patriot; or, is he a traitor?


Mr. Snowden knowingly broke his employment contract by his action, as well as the conditions of whatever level of security clearance he held.  After his pronouncement, he fled – his last known whereabouts in Hong Kong.


Characteristically, some members of Congress have already dubbed him a “traitor” while others have called him a “patriot,” likening him to no less a personage than Paul Revere.  Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul has expressed concern that he may be targeted for assassination by his own government.  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, has offered Snowden asylum.


Snowden has a difficult choice to make.  He can choose to return to the United States and face the music, or he can accept the Russian offer or continue to live on the lam like the fictional Philip Nolan in Edward Everett Hale’s The Man Without a Country.


If he does come home and there is a public trial, it likely would divide the country.  Was Snowden someone who betrayed secrets that will cost U.S. lives?  Or, did Snowden put the American people ahead of his own life and liberty?


Perhaps, Snowden has reason to hope.  During the Vietnam War, a young movie star traveled to North Vietnam – denouncing American foreign policy and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.  Far from being punished or even censured for her actions, Jane Fonda was celebrated.  This is the same Jane Fonda who has been an ardent supporter of various liberal causes and President Obama and who appeared on a 1999 Barbara Walters ABC special titled A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women.


In a brief interview shown on TV, Edward Snowden commented about his action and stated that it was not his intent to leak classified information, but to alert the American public to actions by our government that infringed on the Constitutional rights and liberty of American citizens.


Snowden’s actions may ultimately prove a blessing in disguise.  Perhaps, the NSA and all government agencies may reform he way they deal with contractors and the way in which those contractors classify their employees and provide them access to sensitive or critical information.  The situation beckons the question, how could a low-level employee with minimal education gain access to information that could breach our national security?


Regardless of the answer to that question, Snowden’s actions have shaken the NSA and our entire federal government, as well as heightened the level of distrust that Americans have for their government.  Attributed to Thomas Jefferson is the expression “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”  In a free society, each of us must come to our own conclusion.  Who do you trust more, Edward Snowden or the federal government?



Secrets and Subterfuge: Our Government Run Amok

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In the past year, a series of scandalous secrets have been uncovered that have Americans questioning whether they do indeed live in the the land of the free and the home of the brave.  The coverup of the terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi, harassment and illegal targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the potentially chilling abuse of the privacy rights of Associated Press (AP) reporters and editors by the Justice Department, and most recently, the large-scale violation of the privacy and liberty of ordinary American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA) has caused great concern to American citizens and Congress about the intentions and credibility of the present administration.


Congressional hearings meant to ascertain the truth of these matters have been met with a blatant lack of cooperation.  When quizzed about their motivations and actions, Department Heads of the Inspector General’s Office and the IRS stated that they acted in accordance with government policy.  Further questions, however, received “I don’t know” responses and an invocation of one respondent’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, begging the question – “what are these officials hiding?” and leaving investigators flabbergasted and frustrated.


Far from the “transparency” in government promised by a President who offered “hope” and “change” to a populace tired of government misdeeds, our current state of affairs has left the American people as bewildered as those on the Congressional committees investigating these scandals.  Straightforward questions have provoked amnesia in witnesses and demonstrated the arrogance of those in positions of power who have and are making a mockery of our system of government.  During all of these events, our President has been curiously silent, leaving the average citizen to wonder, “What secrets is our government hiding from us?”


Considering the question of government secrets, however, is like opening Pandora’s Box.  As new government scandals and coverups become more prevalent, it is no longer just conspiracy theorists who revisit and wonder about any of a number of other potential government secrets – everything from the 1947 Roswell UFO incident to the existence of Bigfoot to efforts to control and weaponize weather to Operation Fast and Furious to the secret workings of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center of New York.


During World War II, the Manhattan project was the code name for the secret development project that created the atomic bomb.  Privy to only a few high-ranking government officials, information on the project was shielded from no less a personage than then Vice President Harry S. Truman.  Only upon his ascension to the Presidency did Truman learn about the project.


How many more secrets is our government keeping from us?  Is it possible that reports of UFO wreckage and bodies of alien crew members from the Roswell, New Mexico UFO incident and other such occurrences reside in secret facilities such as Area 51?


Has our government learned the truth about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and other large apelike creatures that have been sighted in various locales throughout the world?  And, has it discovered that these creatures are space aliens?  (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-franklin-ruehl-phd/is-bigfoot-possibly-an-alien_b_1578844.html)


Is our government experimenting with ways to control and even weaponize weather and climatic change?  Is the U.S. Department of Defense’s HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) initiative actually an attempt to control climate and weather by bombarding the ionosphere with radio signals?  And, are the massive F5 tornadoes that have wreaked havoc in our nation’s heartland a result of the Frankenstein effect caused by misguided government research and experimentation?


Was the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Operation Fast and Furious really an attempt to track illegal guns back to the leaders of Mexican drug cartels, or an effort to proliferate illegal guns in the hope of spawning gun violence in an attempt to color public opinion in favor of the Obama Administration’s policy of curbing and ultimately eliminating legal gun ownership in violation of the Second Amendment?


And, are the recent findings of dead “monsters” – including the Montauk (NY) Monster, the Northville (NY) Monster, and the East River (Brooklyn, NY) Monster – not a raccoon, dog, or pig as identified, but the result of top secret experimentation by the federal facility on Plum Island?


Yes, the U.S. government is fraught with secrets.  Some secrets are justified to maintain national security.  Too often, however, “national security” is the mantra recited by government officials to subvert investigations into abuses of power.  The nature of a centralized government and those leading it is to continuously seek to assume more power over its citizens.  The liberty to which we as Americans have become accustomed has been under constant assault since our nation’s founding and has never been as tenuous as it is today.  Technology has provided government with information gathering and storage capabilities that threaten to virtually eliminate personal privacy.  To maintain liberty, citizens must be ever more vigilant in identifying, publicizing, and rooting out abuses of power at all levels.  Otherwise, America as we have known it my cease to be the “land of the free.”

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