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Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

… a lot of personal information if I want to sign a petition asking the government to stop collecting my personal information.

Thanks to a despondent government contractor, we now know that the NSA has been collecting phone records from telecom carriers to find out whom we’ve been calling, if not the actual content of our calls. The Patriot Act, which gave the government this expanded power, once again seems to have, like the One Ring of Sauron, a limitless capacity to corrupt those who wield it. Conservatives who defended that odious law will rightly be enraged to find out what it actually does, which is OK, as long as they are also willing to share some of the shame for it.

We are now faced with imprisoning two government whistle-blowers, Pfc Bradley Manning, and CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden, for bringing abuses to light. But Snowden, now hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel room, was more careful with his leaks than Manning, whose data could have compromised troops and intelligence assets, and whose carelessness might reasonably invite questions of sabotage (even if the answer is also likely no). Snowden’s act ought to be considered legally and morally distinct in that his leaks were selective and focused on the biggest abuses, which earns him more comparisons with Pentagon Papers leaker and hero Daniel Ellsberg.

After suffering several false comparisons with Richard Nixon for the so far banal IRS-Tea Party scandal (Nixon directly used the IRS as a brickbat and ran a ring of thieves out of his office, y’all), Barack Obama has now finally invited a direct comparison with his predecessor–a Daniel Ellsberg all his own, and a rallying figure for protesting government overreach.

I know Edward Snowden is not in custody yet, but what the hell: Free Edward Snowden!

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