IS SNOWDEN A TRAITOR OR HERO?
By Rev. Ted Pike
8 Jul 13
Pres. Obama attempted to trivialize the accusation of federal wrongdoing soon after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked proof that NSA spying on Americans was far more extensive than originally thought. He said the government had not been eavesdropping on the conversations of Americans, only collecting, through Verizon and other US internet giants, “metadata” (data about data) from their internet use and phone calls. Metadata in this context consists of the bare facts of when a transmission occurred, the participants and their locations, and, most importantly, whether any words were exchanged that might suggest conspiracy.
Obama indicated possession of such information is vital to protect America against the threat of terrorism. He asserts the motives of the US government are wholly benevolent and it is out of the question such metadata might be used against innocent Americans.
In reality, as Snowden first revealed through The Guardian last month, our government's Foreign Intelligence Court is empowered to and has compelled virtually all the internet giants to permit complete access by NSA, under its Prism program, to every kind of communication they provide.
Under the George W. Bush administration, with a warrant and permission by the internet provider, NSA could secretly obtain telephonic content of communications by American citizens. The Guardian, however, says:
But the Prism program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies' servers.
A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian [from Snowden], underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more."
Citing an NSA chart, The Guardian says such data collection has been going on increasingly from internet providers since 2007. They include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple.
Who is Really Betraying America?
Obama has launched an international manhunt for Snowden as a traitor, but Snowden has not betrayed America or its Constitution, only the Constitution-violating activities of Obama and NSA. It is Obama and NSA who are traitors to all America stands for, particularly the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Snowden revealed that, because of the secret surveillance programs of Obama and NSA, American citizens are not secure in their persons, papers, and effects (i.e., financial, business, social, political, religious, medical secrets). NSA and its Prism program may now penetrate everyone’s lives, providing innumerable leads for hostile government investigation. Such unwelcome invasion of privacy is the very definition of an unreasonable search and seizure. It occurs without a search warrant and is supported by no oath or affirmation of probable cause. Accumulation of such information on American citizens leaves no public record, except with government and internet providers, which (under threat of prosecution) have been cooperating with the government to collect it.
Who is most clearly an enemy of freedom? Not Snowden but those he has told the world are violating the Fourth Amendment, Obama and NSA. It is they who should be tried for treason and espionage for destroying the Constitution and one of our most sacred rights, privacy. Their secret surveillance program is a veritable wrecking ball of the Constitution.
Huffington Post says Support for Snowden Wanes
A Huffington Post poll of readers reports a rising tide of support for Obama in his description of Snowden as a traitor who should be tried and imprisoned. Through their support, such Americans agree our government is high-minded and benevolent and may be trusted as a responsible custodian of massive information on Americans, including critics of American foreign policy.
Increasing hostility toward Snowden may also result from the fact that big media virtually ignores the substance of his charges against NSA. It does not educate the public or dramatize how NSA dangerously invades our privacy and flouts the Constitution. Instead, its prevailing emphasis is on the high drama of Obama’s manhunt of Snowden and the question of which country might give him asylum. Thus, the media leads us on an emotional wild goose chase further and further from the substantive proof and warning that Snowden has given up everything to deliver to the world.
There is also a contingent of Republican leadership, such as US House Speaker John Boehner and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (who have masterminded and promoted the CISPA bill, legalizing much of the internet spying Snowden has exposed), who strongly denounce Snowden as a traitor. Perhaps their high-profile example helps explain why the Huffington Post poll reveals an increase in Republican condemnation of Snowden.
Yet, as those who have thirsted to dethrone Obama, Republicans and Christians/conservatives should realize they have their best opportunity to do so now. ACLU is suing the Obama administration over this issue; and it is increasingly felt, even among liberals, that Snowden’s revelations of Obama’s deception of the American people, much worse than Bill Clinton’s, could bring him down. The political right should not foolishly throw away this heaven-sent opportunity by following surveillance-state advocates Boehner and Rogers and actually increase the legitimacy of Obama. Almost every dictator in history has suspended basic freedoms and been allowed by his people to do so because of the same argument put forth by Obama, Boehner, and Rogers: He had to do it to protect his people from spies, saboteurs, and revolutionary terrorists. Americans must not succumb to the same argument this time around. Americans should righteously condemn Obama and NSA, at the same time calling for Snowden to be returned to America as a hero!
Once a strong critic of George W. Bush's secret surveillance of Americans, Obama has exponentially increased it. Americans should demand that Obama be impeached. He is basically telling us: "We have to destroy the Constitution and your privacy in order to keep you safe. But that's how it has to be under the tough new rules of the war on terror."
The truth is, that's how it has to be to create dictatorship for an elite in America and an Orwellian police state for our planet.