The Snowden Interview: Friend or Foe?

The Edward Snowden interview has been put on You Tube so if you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth watching:

What to think of this individual? Some of what he’s saying about the “architecture of oppression” really should concern us as Americans and conservatives who love liberty.

Earlier I noted that William Binney, another ex-NSA employee warned that what was being built was a “turnkey totalitarian state.” Is there a bit of paranoia there? Perhaps, but then we are talking about a state which is recording everything you do online without your consent. At some point a little paranoia might be justified.

On the other hand, Snowden’s decision to run to Hong Kong is worrisome. China already is a totalitarian state of the kind he says he is concerned the U.S. may become. Anything which helps them at our expense is very bad news indeed. So while I definitely don’t trust the government to do the right thing, I’m not sure I trust Edward Snowden either.

Can I be blunt? What kind of person gives up a cushy job and a pole dancer girlfriend to become a fugitive/whistleblower? There has to be something unusual going on with this person. Maybe that’s an honest idealism about what America should be. And maybe it’s something else. I’m not sure what to think about Snowden yet.

On the other hand, I am sure that the public had a right to know their emails, phone calls and other data were being collected and stored. That fact that, maybe, that information has helped in the war against terrorism (not demonstrated yet) and that, maybe, that power hasn’t been abused yet (also not demonstrated) does not reassure me that it won’t be abused in future.

Part of the genius of America is the fundamental insight that government power will be abused. That’s why we have the 1st amendment, the 2nd amendment, the 4th, etc. The scandals at the IRS, the EPA, the State Dept. happening right at this moment are a reminder that abuse of power is always happening somewhere. It’s part of human nature. Therefore handing future Presidents the keys to a turnkey totalitarian state seems like a very bad, very un-conservative idea.

Even if, worst case scenario, Edward Snowden turns out to be a defector and a traitor–and I’m not sure that’s the case–we’re better off knowing more about what the government is doing with these programs than less.