Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/24/2013 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Snowden isn't gloating, however and wants the discussion to continue.

It's mission accomplished for Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has leaked the what may be the greatest secret in American history. Until last year, few Americans had any idea that they were being tracked and monitored in a manner akin to George Orwell's 1984.

Edward Snowden feels his main mission is now accomplished.

Edward Snowden feels his main mission is now accomplished.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/24/2013 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Brazil, Snowden, media, spying, leaks, information, NSA


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A lengthy story in the Washington Post tells how Snowden feels now that he has alerted the public to the surreptitious activities of the National Security Agency. Speaking from Moscow, Snowden told a reporter that he felt accomplished, but he wanted the conversation about surveillance to continue, that he should not be the focus of conversation.

"For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he said. "I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself," Snowden said in the report. "All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed."

This month, the NSA has been placed in check by judicial reviews of its procedures, during which one judge described the practices as "almost Orwellian."

The Obama administration has pledged new guidelines for the NSA, to curtail at least some of the data collection on Americans. Somehow, nobody feels assuaged by this pledge. In the back of all minds is the wonder if the NSA will even bother complying in more than a ceremonial fashion.

Snowden still faces arrest and the likelihood of life behind bars, if he is intercepted by U.S. authorities or those friendly to the U.S.

Top security officials in the U.S. claim that the NSA program has prevented a repeat of a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11. According to some, Snowden has damaged our ability to intercept terrorist threats. The NSA has already reported that terrorists have shifted their manner of communication in an effort to evade NSA surveillance. Of course, that the NSA is even aware of their new methods suggests the eye still sees much.

Snowden, who is seen as a traitor, a blabber of state secrets by most officials in government, is also seen as a folk hero by the man on the street. Washington Post put the question to him bluntly.

In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the ¬classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.

"The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy," he said. "That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.

People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose.

"'I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,' he said. 'I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don't realize it.'

"What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility?" The Post asked.

"That whole question - who elected you? - inverts the model," he said. "They elected me. The overseers."

"He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

"Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions" in committee hearings, he said. 'Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.

"It wasn't that they put it on me as an individual - that I'm uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens - as that they put it on someone, somewhere," he said. "You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don't do it. So somebody has to be the first."

Despite the apologetics from Snowden in the Post interview, he still took it upon himself to reveal some of our nation's highest secrets to the world. Yet, who else would have done so?

Any questions of loyalty need to be carefully considered. Snowden could have sold the information. With the knowledge in his mind, he could buy citizenship and a comfortable life in any country of his choosing. Yet, he carefully released documents that discussed the nature of the NSA's activities but not all of the detail. In other words, he has released nothing that would specifically compromise the safety of U.S. agents, nor would improve surveillance programs in other countries.

Snowden also denied that Russia and China had his information and said he had no deals with either country despite spending time in both.

He also showed the Post reporter that his laptop was void of any such information.

Instead, Snowden has trusted his information to a few reporters and there is purportedly a plan to continue releasing information in the event of his capture or death-yet not all of it, not all at once. Snowden cited that such a "dead man's switch" where all the data would be released in the event of his death, would be suicide. Any nation that wanted to know everything at once would simply have him killed.

Snowden told the Post that he raised his concerns to his superiors, asking them what would the public think if the NSA's methods were on the front page of a newspaper. According to him, his superiors shunned such questions. Those same superiors have denied that Snowden ever expressed any concerns to them.

Snowden's most important distinction was that government was all-powerful. A valid critique of his concern is that private industry is also developing omniscient surveillance methods to track consumers and market to them. Private corporations already know much about individuals, thanks to Facebook and other data collection methods. The public is largely unaware of this.

But Snowden made clear that governments are unique.

The Post reported:

"'I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these powers to continue growing in secret,' he replied, calling them 'a direct threat to democratic governance.

"In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, "What the government wants is something they never had before. they want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?

"Snowden likened the NSA's powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when 'general warrants' allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, 'is authorizing general warrants for the entire country's metadata.

"'The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,' he said.

"Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSA's possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom.

"At the NSA, he said, "there are people in the office who joke about, 'We put warheads on foreheads.' Twitter doesn't put warheads on foreheads."

Snowden, in an open letter to Brazil, penned earlier this month made clear that the NSA's activities aren't about stopping terrorism-they are about control.

The question is, should the American public have a stake in that discussion? Do we want such control over ourselves and over other nations at the cost of all our privacy? Do we want to live in a state where the government has access to all of our secrets, our private lives, our sins, and our thoughts?

Snowden has given us an opportunity to consider a question that we didn't know was being asked and answered on our behalf. Snowden has given the American people a voice. Yes, our "security" situation may be changed, to some degree, whatever that means. However, only history will show if his deeds truly helped or hurt our nation.

Many of us fear our government more than terrorists. Indeed, history proves that government destroy more of their own people than outside forces. If true in this case, then Snowden is a hero to the American people, even if he betrayed his government.

Not every issue is colored in black and white.



---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Sharia, go home! Billy Graham's son says. What did he mean? Watch

Image of The Reverend Franklin Graham, the overseer of the international Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse, added that Sharia law is the law of Islam, which governs public life as well as private life.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of legendary Christian evangelist Billy Graham has never been one to conceal his opinions. "We should be afraid of sharia law" in America, and Muslims here who want to practice sharia should go back to where they came from, "to ... continue reading


Live the Easter Way! The Holy Spirit which Transformed the Early Church Enlists Us! Watch

Image of Candle by candle, the light of the Resurrection illuminates the world around us as He who is the Light of the World fills it with His radiance.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I just watched Pope Francis preside at the Easter Vigil at the Basilica of St Peter. His homily on encountering Jesus and finding our own Galilee was beautiful. Now, I am about to depart for the Easter Vigil at my parish in Chesapeake, Virginia. I will greet the ... continue reading


The Coming Canonizations: Deal Hudson on Saints and Dead Atheists Watch

Image of The Church in recognizing saints - there are many unrecognized, uncanonized saints - affirms that our Communion of Saints extends into heaven, creating a between the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, the angels, and the faithful on earth.  The message here is a simple one: we are not on our own, ever - the virtue of supernatural charity is not a mean, but an excess.

By Deal W. Hudson

We know that St. Peter's Square will be overflowing with happy faces, banners waving, and spontaneous outburst of songs - in many languages -  who will greet the arrival and presence of Pope Francis.  What would the mood be like in Washington Square at ... continue reading


Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: God has Died in the Flesh and Hell Trembles with Fear Watch

Image of Holy Saturday Byzantine Icon. This is a day which presents to those who approach it in contemplation, an opportunity to probe the mystery of life and death. It is a day to enter into the deeper mysteries of the faith with the millions and millions of those who have gone before us.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


The Birth of Catholic Evangelism Watch

Image of I recently interviewed Jeff Cavins  for my weekly show  on Ave Maria Radio.  Jeff, who is nationally known for his study guides to the Bible, has just taken a job as Director of Evangelism at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  It's a significant point in this nation's Church history that an apologist/educator with EWTN origins has taken a significant job inside an archdiocese.

By Deal W. Hudson

In spite of being ignored, and in some cases blacklisted, several of the hosts of EWTN radio and TV shows grew ministries of their own in the evangelistic Catholic style of Mother Angelica's still-prospering network. Jeff Cavins is one of the most successful of ... continue reading


Good Friday: Behold the Wood of the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This is Good Friday. This is the day when the whole world stands still. We recall the great Sacrifice offered on the second tree on Golgotha's Hill. There, the one St. Paul calls the New Adam (1 Cor.15), in the perfect obedience of love, did for us  what we ... continue reading


Finally Justice! Small town city manager gets 12 years in jail on corruption charges Watch

Image of Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo's party came crashing down when it was revealed in 2010 that Rizzo was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bell, California is a small town with less than 36,000 people. That didn't stop City Manager Robert Rizzo, along with his friends, from awarding themselves hefty raises and drawing yearly salaries as high as $1.5 million. It was fun while it lasted - now Rizzo ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:14, 22-32
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
1 [In a quiet voice Of David] Protect me, O God, in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:8-15
8 Filled with awe and great joy the women came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 21st, 2014 Image

St. Anselm
April 21: St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury and Confessor APRIL 21,A.D. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter