By Thierry Peters
Edward Snowden has violently rocked the dark and mysterious world of covert intelligence, exposing the government’s overreaching powers and catching the NSA in the act. He has been called a narcissist, a loner, a traitor, and a coward, but why jump to conclusions as so many in the media have done?
In Moscow, sympathy for the whistleblower has reached new heights, and European politicians are decrying the alleged snooping by US agencies on their respective governments. But why do close to half of all Americans still support the government’s rather repetitious view that spying on their own citizens saved the nation from some mysterious threats?
The European Union headquarters in Brussels has been a key target for US intelligence organization, but to what extent information gathered was used or abused is still a question to be answered by US authorities. The continuing Snowden saga just keeps steamrolling arguments in favor of snooping on Americans and foreign citizens.
Snowden’s fate hangs in the balance. Many see him as a savior and advocate for universal privacy, away from the prying eyes of big government, but some, namely within the US government, are crying out over the fact that such intelligence gathering has proven to be rather useful in both preventing and dissuading security threats aimed at the US. The United States has never been a great example for the protection of the public from the prying eyes of intelligence operatives.
In the 1950s, the conspicuous red scare, pushed and fed by the edgy Senator Joseph McCarthy, led the government to overstep its bounds on so countless occasions. His perseverance ultimately led to his censuring by congress due to public backlash and his final downfall due to alcoholism. The government could learn a lesson or two before it gets too drunk to recompose, but then again when are history’s repetitions ever considered in earnest?
The amount of times references to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have appeared in reputable international news sources is staggering, but the accuracy of these comparisons is just as staggeringly believable to the public eye.
When, over the past two years, the state department felt that it had to throw away $630,000 simply to buy some ‘likes’ for one of its Facebook pages and was then criticized for it by the Inspector General, how could we possibly assume that the government’s intelligence arms are acting with exemplary honesty and integrity?
It all comes down to overzealous, prying eyes. Snowden has hopefully provided further inspiration for legitimate whistleblowers in the future and it must be recognized that snooping now could be a pretext for even worse abuses of our well-earned privacy.
This ever-growing snowball will engulf both the NSA and the government’s argument that maintaining a prying eye is both constitutional and necessary due to contrived clear and present dangers.