ECLECTIC RANT: Snowden and the NSA Surveillance Program

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday July 10, 2013 - 09:01:00 AM

Much, maybe too much, has been reported on Edward Snowden's leaking of classified information, the NSA Surveillance Program, and Snowden's desperate attempts to find asylum. I would just add a brief comment, 

In my view Edward Snowden is neither a hero nor a villain. He broke the law as an act of conscience. As a result of his act of civil disobedience, he will probably spend his life in exile.  

Taking advantage of the public's concern for security in the wake of 9/11, our government initiated the NSA Surveillance Program in 2002. Then security trumped privacy concerns and still does in many quarters. A stunning shock such as 9/11 was the cover needed to implement i-- in the name of security -- Draconian measures such as the NSA Surveillance Program, which in ordinary times would have been vigorously opposed by the populace. (See Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Dpctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.) 

If the American public is shocked at the NSA Surveillance Program, then they haven't been paying attention. As early as 2005, the New York Times exposed the government's "warrantless eavesdropping," which forced NSA to open the program to broader review. In fact, there is evidence that the surveillance program had been cleansing itself well before Snowden's leaks. No doubt, Snowden's leaks will help speed the cleansing process.