A majority of Americans believe Edward Snowden should be criminally prosecuted for leaking classified information about government surveillance programs, according to a new national poll. But you might be surprised by the unlikely grouping of cohorts who suggest the information he has revealed is in the public interest.
First off, 54 percent of Americans say the government should pursue a criminal case against Mr. Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who has fled to Hong Kong, according to a new Pew Research Center and USA Today survey. But digging into the numbers, it’s interesting to note that tea party loyalists, liberals, and young people suggest the National Security Administration leak outlining extensive phone and e-mail monitoring programs is in the public interest.
People who identify themselves as tea partyers believe the release of this information is in the public interest by a 56 to 39 percent margin. An almost identical segment of liberals – 57 to 38 percent – say the same.
Meanwhile, the 18-to-29-year-old set feel even more strongly – 60 percent to 34 percent – that American citizens are well-served by the knowledge Snowden has provided. And a minority of young people, 44 percent, believe he – or as the survey frames it, “the person responsible for leaking the classified information” – should face criminal charges.
Here we have yet another example of why the phrase “young and foolish” is a clichè. It’s not a coincidence that whenever the insufferable gasbag who is currently occupying the Oval Office wants to bloviate and demagogue he does so in front of audiences of wet-behind-the-ears, fresh-faced kids.
Let me give you children the benefit of a little logic, intelligence and life experience. There are two separate issues here, and we must be careful not to conflate (look it up) them; specifically, the issue of whether the NSA programs that have been in place for many years are good public policy or not and the issue of whether some narcissistic, unaccomplished high school drop out, with delusions of grandeur should be allowed to unilaterally decide to destroy these programs, and probably harm our national security in the process. To quote another narcissistic unaccomplished twit, this decision was above his pay grade, and appears to have been done out of some misguided effort to star in his own spy drama.
These programs have not only existed for years. The American public has known about them for years. The fact that this fool didn’t, and apparently he and a lot of the backward children who are lionizing him didn’t, just adds to the evidence that he is not someone we should regard as some sort of oracle. As the Business Insider’s Report (by way of the Seattle Post Intelligencer) notes in a story entitled, “If Edward Snowden Had Watched ’60 Minutes’ In High School He Could Still Be Living In Hawaii With His Beautiful Girlfriend”:
There is a report out today from the AP saying that it has been “known for years,” that there is a program which “copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.”
In fact, the American public has known that the NSA has extensive Internet-spying programs since 2000.
That’s when “60 Minutes” reported: “If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there’s a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country’s largest intelligence agency.”
The “60 Minutes” report exposed the existence of a program called Echelon, through which the governments of Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand worked in coordination to spy on each other’s citizens on the Internet.
If you read the transcript from that “60 Minutes” episode, Echelon sounds like a more invasive program than PRISM.
“60 Minutes” is a massively popular news program. Ten million, sometimes 20 million people, watch it every Sunday. Even more watched it back in 2000.
Nor is he a “whistleblower” because he was not revealing anything that was not already known, nor was he revealing anything illegal. These programs were duly enacted by Congress, signed by two presidents, and have passed judicial scrutiny. It would be a different kettle of fish if this guy discovered laws being violated, but even in that case the appropriate remedy would be to report the illegality to his supervisors, not to run to a hostile foreign government and the media to try to become some sort of celebrity. I would have said that he could go to his congressman to report illegality, but I doubt that this doofus even knows the name of his congressman. Of course, this fact is not relevant because there was nothing illegal to report.
The Chinese official media is calling his conduct “the definition of heroism.” How ironic, and how perfect, it is that this simpleton, who considers himself a courageous freedom fighter, is now nothing more than a useful idiot for one of the most tyrannical regimes on the planet. I wonder what he thinks of their forced abortion policy.