As the Edward Snowden interview with Brian Williams concluded, Snowden stated that he is comfortable with his actions of divulging the NSA's information gathering program. After watching the interview, my thoughts were much the same, which is content, with Snowden's actions. Although, I was previously supportive of the former intelligence employee's actions, I had not expected such an eloquent defense and more important argument for the welfare of the U.S. to be put forth. To not heed his word of demanding accountability and transparency of our government officials in programs mentioned, may prove to be a mistake. My vote between traitor or patriot, is patriot.
There has been much focus on the idea that Snowden has put American security at risk, making readily available information to our enemies and potential enemies. However, the issue lies in defining the identity of these so call enemies. In other words, the premise of Snowden's course of actions was to make known, that perhaps the overseas foe is not as great of a threat, as the domestic one. Perhaps it is not a terrorist lurking in your back yard, but your own government.
As Brian Williams points out in his initial questioning, if we are doing no wrong, then what disadvantage is it to us to have our government invade our privacy, at least in terms of lives through technology? I could not agree more with Snowden in this regard, as he refers to a "security state", one where security takes priority over freedom. Yet, the fundamental issue, as my wife and I debated without coming to a consensus following the interview, is that this sets a precedent. The idea that I have nothing to hide, there I lose nothing in allowing this, misses the bigger question. If we allow this, what liberty is allowed to be taken next?
I argue in my article, "Radicalism Can Promote Change" for the Express News, Thomas Jefferson states, 'When people fear the government, there is tyranny. When governments fear the people, there is liberty.' The question of Snowden's appropriate judgment or sentence arose, in the event that he returns to the U.S. For the purposes of this piece it is irrelevant, yet brings to light a great question. Is what Edward Snowden did illegal or for that matter ethical? It's a great question that I will answer with the following. As I point out to my students, the American Revolution, was illegal.