No Home for Snowden

Snowden is on the run (courtesy of Reuters)

Edward Snowden—the former government contractor responsible for leaking documents and other information about the U.S. National Security Agency‘s secret intelligence and surveillance programs—is a man without a country.

At the moment, he is hunkered down at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, where he has been hiding since he left Hong Kong more than a week ago. According to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks—which has been assisting Snowden in his efforts to avoid American persecution for espionage—as many as 19 asylum requests have been sent to countries ranging from Austria and Finland to Brazil and Ecuador (incidentally the same country now harboring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy). Unfortunately, no one has stepped up to help the internationally known fugitive.

At least not yet.

There were rumors that Snowden would attempt to stay in Russia, but they were quickly dispelled on Monday when President Vladimir Putin said he could remain only if he stopped “his work aimed at harming our American partners.”

The NSA is not happy (courtesy of the NSA)

Apparently, Snowden has more information about the NSA that he feels should go public, so keep your eyes peeled for more “revelations” in the near future.

Like many Americans, I have been following this story a little—mostly because it’s impossible to switch on the news without hearing something about Snowden and his globe-trotting ways—but I also find myself wondering what all the fuss is about.

Wasn’t it made clear after the events of September 11th that some privacy would have to be sacrificed in order to prevent future acts of terrorism? Is this not the basis of the Homeland Security Act and, by design, the Department of Homeland Security?

To think the government of any country is guilt-free when it comes to monitoring their citizens, infringing on people’s privacy and collecting personal information is naive at best. This kind of thing has been happening for decades or longer, so nothing revealed by Snowden thus far is very surprising. At most, it is simply an embarrassment to the U.S. government, but not that much of one, if you ask me.

Of course, I do give Snowden credit for doing something so dangerous, all in an effort to keep the American people informed and to provide greater transparency of the federal government. Here’s how he put it when he was first interviewed by The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain:

“I’m willing to sacrifice… because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Commendable, to be sure, but his methods may have been ill-advised. Releasing information anonymously—perhaps through WikiLeaks—could have prevented all this trouble, which now includes the revocation of Snowden’s passport, effectively making him a citizen of the world but a resident of nowhere.

I also can’t help but wonder if Snowden has his own agenda, one that the public is not yet privy to. One lesson that I learned long ago is that regardless of how selfless an act may seem, the person behind it almost always has something to gain from it. Granted, I can’t figure out what Snowden’s angle is, but I’m confident that he has one. And serving the public good may not be his only intention.

The good news is that details about this story continue to emerge on an almost hourly basis, so we should all know more very soon. And honestly, I hope this situation is resolved soon because I can already feel media fatigue setting in.

That almost never happens!

Posted on July 2, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Well, I would tend to slightly disagree with your comment that he is a man without a country. The United States of America is his country. He just chooses not to come back… Regardless, I’m sure the Russians have mirrored all his electronics so whatever he had “as a secret” will no longer be…

    • Right on both points, Koji. “Man without a country” was meant to imply both countries he is not a resident of as well as those too dangerous for him to return to, like the US. And yes, it’s possible other governments are spying on him, but why bother? He’d probably spill his guts without all the cloak and dagger nonsense. LOL

  2. What I can’t believe is how blatantly naive you are.

    Yes, many of us already knew the crux of these allegations (though not how our government has repeatedly lied to us,and our allies and continues in similar vein), as they have been “suggested” by others in several news media magazine articles since 9-11. Even then, the extent to which our government would go to undermine our natural rights was astounding.

    Were you defending the Patriot Act? Oh my.

    Still, because we knew it did NOT make it right, but most of us (me included) are too self-serving or tired to go out on a “Snowden’s limb”. You fail miserably to see the significance of his acts, but would rather malign him for some ancient wisdom you’ve learned NOT. Instead of the praise he deserves from your and every citizen, you paint him as selfishly having a secret agenda of his own, perhaps just a Freudian nod to yourself and your friends.

    You’re great. A big deal, and blissfully ignorant. But I’m sorry, I don’t have the time or inclination to educate you further.

    • Wow.

      The part about me nodding to my friends by accusing Snowden of having some hidden agenda was particularly amusing, especially since all I did was acknowledge that he could have one, not that he did have one. Perhaps clearer wording would have prevented that misunderstanding.

      I also acknowledge that Snowden could, in fact, be a hero. And he does deserve credit for defending the American people at great personal risk to himself. However, my point was that after 9-11, our personal privacy went more or less out the window. It was not a defense of the Patriot Act as much as a simple observation. I’m sure plenty of examples can be found of this happening in the last decade.

      So for now, I return to my blissful ignorance and thank you for taking the time to educate me to this point. I’ll see if I can’t take it from here. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Snowden Leaks Again | gnostic bent

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