Public Comment

Honor the Hero

By Bruce Joffe
Friday December 20, 2013 - 06:23:00 PM

Although enforcement of his decision is pending appeal, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon's order that the NSA stop collecting "bulk telephony data" on Americans' phone calls indicates that we can be a nation ruled by law, rather than by personal dictates, as is North Korea. There, a man-child can have anyone executed, and all are afraid to protest. Here, citizens can take their grievance that a government spy agency violated our privacy rights to court, and justice can prevail.  

Amassing information about everyone's communication, all the time, through telephone, internet, and email creates a vast potential for corruption, intimidation and general mischief from even the most stalwart of government stewards. If you need an example, consider three words: J. Edgar Hoover. He collected files on everyone in Washington, and nearly everyone was afraid of what he could reveal. NSA's files are ever so much larger, and its ability to mine databases, more powerful. Responsible oversight has failed; the FISA court does not protect us. 

How were challengers, Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, able to verify NSA's abuses? Until recently, all claims of uncontrolled spying were denied. But one brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, revealed NSA malpractice. And how has Mr. Snowden been thanked for his courage? Our government indicted him for treason when he should be honored as a national hero. Without courageous individuals, our nation of law could fall victim to man-child dictators.