NSA Leak: Edward Snowden Character Assassination: Because Who Cares About Privacy Anyway?

nsa-logo-shield-spoofWith seemingly endless attacks on his character, Edward Snowden (NSA leaker) has unfortunately consumed this story. Even people in the media who complain we are talking about Snowden instead of privacy, like Chris Hayes, are, well, TALKING ABOUT SNOWDEN! And with that, each passing day the media talks less about the NSA (National Security Agency), privacy, and the Fourth Amendment. Soon the story will entirely encompass speculation on Snowden’s guilt, motive and whereabouts. In fact, we are nearly there now.

But Snowden isn’t the issue here. It’s rather unfortunate Snowden decided to come forward, because it’s drawn attention away from the real issue, privacy. Does the NSA have the right to collect massive amounts of data on Americans without probable cause in the name of fighting terrorism? That is what we should be talking about, but instead much of the mainstream media is complicit with the government it should be questioning.

Government can be a source of good when it comes to programs for the poor, the disenfranchised, and building a strong safety net for all Americans, but government needs to be kept in check when it comes to security. We cannot allow scary events to change who we are as a nation. I know this is easy to say when 9/11 happened a dozen years ago, but even if it happened yesterday, does that make it right to fundamentally redefine what America is all about?

Returning to Snowden, does it matter what his intentions were? Shouldn’t the information he revealed stand on its own? Shouldn’t we have a discussion about that? Even if Edward Snowden’s intentions were less than pure, and there is no evidence of that right now, does it change what we now know about NSA surveillance and the PRISM program? Clearly the answer is no, but the Obama administration, and high-ranking government officials are sure to continue the Snowden character assassination, because they know that public push-back on this issue will rise or fall based on the integrity of the leaker. Tarnish his image, and public debate over NSA surveillance will likely fade into the background.

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