As the weekend began, we learned that the Obama Administration had formally charged Edward Snowden with espionage, theft and stealing cable TV. Snowden is the guy who leaked classified information about massive and unconstitutional National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs and then fled to Hong Kong.
President Obama said he welcomed the debate touched off by Snowden’s disclosures to The Washington Post and Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian in London . . . but apparently not enough to welcome the man himself.
Sunday, we awoke to hear of Snowden’s new travel plans. Clearly, there is surveillance! Snowden left Hong Kong and flew to Moscow. From there, he appears headed to Ecuador, where he is requesting asylum.
Having just turned 30, Mr. Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee, then employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the NSA, remains mysterious. Whatever we learn about Snowden, though, I agree with Greenwald’s judgment: “What he has done is an immense public service, an act of real patriotism, to inform his fellow citizens about things the government has been doing of great consequence in the dark . . .”
A separate story over the weekend drives that point home: “President Obama held his first-ever meeting Friday with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) — the group charged with ensuring that the executive branch balances privacy and civil liberties needs with its national security efforts.”
Were it not for that Snowden fellow, would this group “charged with ensuring” our rights and privacy have ever even met?
Don’t bother asking. The story reports, “The White House declined to comment on the meeting.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.