Edward Snowden, NSA Leaker: Hero or Fool?

Well, he outed himself – a former CIA and NSA employee until just recently working as a contractor for the NSA is the man who leaked the spying plan.  Now, what to make of it?

I’m not sure if he’s a hero or a fool – but he does have some guts because at the very least, Uncle Sam is going to want to drop on him like a ton of bricks.  Whether or not that happens remains to be seen – now that he’s self-outed and not easily detainable by the government, things might not go so bad for him.  What he’s done, in strictly legal terms, probably carries a lot of “20 to life” terms.  We’ll have to see how this plays out.

I’ve been pondering this whole mess and I’ve come to the conclusion that the ultimate problem we have is a misunderstanding of just what the threat is.  The government – especially under Obama, who is desperate to propagate the myth that Islamist extremism poses no great threat to the United States – is engaging in massive intelligence gathering in a desperate effort to stave off terrorist attacks before they happen.  Of course, we have seen how well this works in Boston.  Now, of course the government probably has thwarted a large number of attempted attacks – but can’t tell us about them because to do so would reveal sources and thus jeopardize ongoing efforts to keep after the terrorists.  But, also, Boston does show that even the most massive intelligence gathering leaves gaps.  In other words, no matter how much data they mine on us and everyone else in the world, they will never catch all the terrorists – and the terrorists will keep after us, forever, unless we stop them, permanently.

Permanently stopping them means going to war with them and chasing them to the ends of the earth and killing or taking all of them.  Now, will we do that?  Not now.  Not just because Obama is unable to see the threat, but because America is tired of fighting the Islamists.  American wars can go upwards of 5 years, but no longer – we just don’t have the patience beyond that.  Especially if there’s no clear-cut goal in sight.  We’ll have to wait until the Islamists hit us again, very hard, and then hope we have leadership which sees the path to true strategic thinking.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve had enough of this intelligence gathering.  We need laws specifically prohibiting any government employee, at any level, from obtaining or retaining data on any American without a warrant – and the warrants must have an expiration date, upon which the target of the warrant is informed of its existence and 100% of the data collected in connection with it – seriously; all the original documents mailed to the target so he can see what was found (I’d like it to be no more than 90 days, but others I’ve discussed it with say it has to go longer – but it must have a drop dead date).  Intelligence gathering overseas and among foreigners I don’t give a darn about – knock yourself out, NSA.  But on Americans?  No.  Dad fought on Saipan and Grandpa in the Argonne to stop this very sort of nonsense from happening.  Enough is enough.