PostHeaderIcon Does The Truth REALLY Make Us Free?

(It seems I have something to say after all…)

According to the Christian bible, if one knows the truth, that truth will make one free. Will it really? Better still, do most of us even want to know the truth?

In this diatribe, I refer to the various documents provided to WikiLeaks by Bradley Manning followed by the more recent disclosures of government spying on its citizens by Edward Snowden.

It is true that, in both cases, the “leakers”, aka “whistle blowers” violated numerous security laws and rules by making their disclosures. This prompts me to ask whether laws and rules that have the effect of covering up (or hiding) wrongdoing on the part of government can, indeed, ever be accepted as valid laws and rules?

I see this as akin to the principle regarding a soldier’s obligation to follow orders – excepting in those cases where such orders would result in illegal or improper actions (for instance, an order to kill innocent civilians).

Such notions are, in fact, almost impossible to “cleanly” implement because they depend on the interpretation of the situation by the individuals involved as well as the fact that the “rules” of the game are often totally inconsistent.

Referring back to my previous example – most of us can agree that an order for an infantry squad to invade a peaceful village and kill innocent non-combatants is morally wrong. Then, what do we say about the order to drop bombs or fire missiles into areas that contain equally innocent non-combatants whose only “crime” was to be too near some area thought to have legitimate military value? It seems to me the only way out of this morass is to judge the actions of those who violate the rules by the evident morality of their intentions. That is, were the violations in question obviously intended for personal gain or were they done at obvious personal risk to the violator and driven by moral considerations?

Back to the original notion – that of “leakers” who violate security laws and rules to disclose information that they honestly and morally believe should be known by the citizenry at large…

My own opinion, for whatever it is worth, is that what we know to be morally correct always trumps laws and rules established by government. If that is not true, then government automatically becomes all powerful because its ability to manipulate and deceive will be unlimited.

Given this opinion, three thoughts emerge: First, that both Manning and Snowden deserve the same consideration and protection extended to whistle blowers whose revelations did not involve “national security”. Second, that what we allow to be called “national security” is more often a smoke screen intentionally devised to hide the crimes of those who govern us. Third, that any and all members of government who demand that the likes of Manning and Snowden be severely punished, even executed, are themselves highly suspect and most probably have wrongdoing to hide.

The plain truth is that our government, especially the current regime, is corrupt to the point where all our rights and liberties are at severe risk. If we sit by and allow those who would expose this corruption to be silenced and punished, then we are nothing more than accessories to that corruption.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

33 Responses to “Does The Truth REALLY Make Us Free?”

  • Larry Andrew says:

    Well Troy…you certainly hit on the issues I have been struggling with regarding the current NSA policy as well as for Manning. I have to say that I come down on the side of executing them both. Rather than go thru all the points I have reviewed, let me say that it comes down to, for me, allowing a low-level analyst or soldier to decide that a certain policy or system is bad and blowing a national security program of importance to the benefit of the enemy.

    No matter how uncomfortable I may be with what I know so far of the system, I cannot see how we can properly execute our security efforts with our soldiers and operators being allowed to decide on their own to not follow orders or to jeopardize those security efforts. I do not see an equivalent to war crimes actions committed by the Nazis or the Japanese, for example. No moral equivalent basis to excuse what the two traitors did.

    On the other hand, I am quite skeptical of big government and big brother approaches to national security. The policy issues involved in the latest would, I believe, have been more fully discussed and reviewed in any case and without the righteous indignation of a 29 year old’s view of the world determining our national security policies.

    I realize this is only a surface treatment of the incredibly important issues involved. However, I have seen nothing so far that would suggest to me that these two traitors should be called heroes.

    • Troy says:

      Larry,
      While I respect your opinion, I must ask you a couple of questions:

      First, is there compelling evidence that a known enemy of the United States has been truly helped by either set of leaks, and,

      Second, which do you find a greater overall threat to your continued liberty: terrorists or your own government?

      As for the security issue, IMHO this is mostly phoney issue that has been with us since the founding:

      Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

      Usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin

      I am of the firm opinion that our own government is constantly trying to scare us silly so that we will more willingly tolerate abuses and intrusions — sadly, it works.

      Troy

      • JHud says:

        Troy,
        New to the blog (found it seeking a good political spectrum circle) and love the discussions. Glad you brought up the Franklin quote. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it. I agree with Franklin, but I had to clarify my thinking. I believe in Liberty. Liberty is different than Privacy. Would I give up privacy for safety? Yes, as long as the privacy I forego does not affect my autonomy to live my life. The problem comes when we cannot trust those in power to abuse the ability to invade our privacy and use that knowledge to strangle our Liberty. We are creating a Nanny state that thinks it can fix every problem by dictating how we live (Mayor Bloomberg). A Gov’t we constantly feed with our taxes will grow and become so influential, the masses will cease to recall if we are at war with Oceania or Eurasia.

      • JHud says:

        (…thought continued. Tried to hit enter for new paragragh but hit submit prematurely)
        If Gov’t monitoring is able to ferret out the scrounge of our society, then so be it. But my fear, and the fear expressed by Snowden, is that if a Gov’t tracks everything, they can cast anyone in a negative light by taking innocuous comments out of context. A joke among friends about someone’s manliness may be conveyed as homophobic intolerance and a predisposition to hate speech should someone selectively cherry-pick from a person’s digital history. None of us could bear the spotlight of scrutinty should the power turn against us. JH

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Welcome and thanks for joining our discussions. I appreciate your endeavor to distinguish Liberty from Privacy. It shows you are thinking, which is a dying sport in our modern world. However, you have not succeeded to my satisfaction, and surely not to that of our Founders. They considered privacy an essential enough component of Liberty, to add the Fourth Amendment to our Bill of Rights.

          Of course, they had only recently suffered the indignity of the King’s minions entering their homes under the color of authority, and rifling through their papers in search of some offense or another, without probable cause enough to suspect that one had been committed, to convince a judge to issue a proper warrant.

          The Bill of Rights is essentially an uncompromising list of ‘Thou Shall Not’ commandments to the Federal government. The NSA is in clear violation of several of them, and if we value our Liberty, we must not allow them to get away with it. I am sure we would all be safer from the bad guys, if like Mexico we had unsmiling young military men standing on street corners with assault rifles, watching our every move.

          Ditto, if we arm our TSA agents, and have them patrol all of our transportation hubs, and set up roadblocks on our highways. To some, these might represent increased security; but I do not wish to live under such dehumanizing conditions, just because I am a law abiding citizen with nothing to hide.

          You have identified the risk if government were to misuse the NSA database. I submit that there is adequate anecdotal evidence that they already have. The fundamental nature of those who seek power being what it is, I fail to see how it could be otherwise, at least eventually.

          Even if one naively believes the current crop of oligarchs wouldn’t do such a thing, what happens when they are replaced by those who would? The data on our past activities will be waiting for their exploitation. Can we risk this? Might that endanger our Liberty? ◄Dave►

        • JHud says:

          Responding to Dave’s reply – Glad to be part of the discussion. I’m curious to see if each discussion swings to the extremes as your reply to my post did. I do not think I advocated foregoing all privacy and submitting to roving patrols of TSA agents. My statement was a contrast of Liberty and Privacy. The Fourth Amendment uses a key term being reasonable. We are protected against unreasonable search and seizure. I submit many of your examples are unreasonable and I do not see my post supporting such notions. A Reasonable Person clause by its nature changes over time as society changes. A Baby Boomer will have a different standard of privacy (thus reasonableness) than a Gen Y’r. Technology has ushered in the ability to data mine large amounts of information and find indicators of potential criminal activity. How do we leverage technology to find the bad guys and protect the good guys? If you have examples to back up the anecdotal evidence of wrong doing through NSA, please share. I do believe that these folks can see and hear more than they’ll admit and the wrong people could abuse the power, but that argument holds for every person in a position of authority or power. Police and military both have been known to abuse their authority, but I don’t advocate taking badges or disbanding the military. Instead, hold those who would betray the sacred trust to task for their abuses and encourage a culture of ferreting out those who betray the trust. If monitoring credit card transactions sends a signal that someone is buying bomb making equipment, I’d like for someone to intervene. I am much more concerned about what occurs in the open that what occurs behind closed doors. We are slowly criminalizing every behavior that is nothing more than political incorrectness. What was once free speech is now hate speech. The larger the government grows, the more control it tries to exert over what we eat, think, say, and do. We have senior military officers being kicked out of service for making off color jokes about sexual orientation applied retroactively. The thought police worry me more than the data miners looking for signs of real crime. My concern with the abuse of the data is the character assassinations that will occur for political expediency. I don’t trust the government, but I do trust checks and balances. Pushing too far to either side throws off the balance. What checks and balances do we need today that we didn’t have over 200 hundred years ago?
          JH

        • ◄Dave► says:

          JHud, my reply was not meant to disparage your post, only to suggest that privacy was a necessary component of Liberty. My use of ‘extreme’ examples to make a point, was not meant in any way to suggest that you advocated or would support them. The Fourth Amendment leaves to the Judicial branch the determination of what is ‘reasonable,’ not the Executive bureaucrats; and constrains judges not to issue blanket warrants for a fishing expedition, in any case.

          As to evidence of NSA abuses, check out:
          http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/20/bush-era-nsa-whistleblower-makes-most-explosive-allegations-yet-about-true-extent-of-govt-surveillance/

          As to what checks and balances we might now need that we didn’t have 200 years ago, I am not sure that is the right question. It might be better to ask, what checks and balances in our system 200 years ago, do we no longer have? To this, I would reply an educated and informed populace, and an independent free press, inclined to hold government accountable and constrained by our Constitution. ◄Dave►

        • ◄Dave► says:

          More anecdotal evidence, JHud:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEFkffyfuto&sns=em

          …whistleblowers abound. ◄Dave►

        • JHud says:

          Dave,

          I don’t think you can use the same guy as a source twice and tag it as “whistle blowers abound”. I’m sure Tice is confident about his convictions and I share the concern that information can be misused. However, Tice makes it sound like everyone is being targeted, even the President from his days as a Senator, and that these folks are being blackmailed. The problem with these programs is that anyone doing the snooping must be aware that they are also targets. We need tools to catch the bad guys. Other than vague threats and innuendo, who has been targeted for purposes other than criminal activity? Did the NSA target Patraeus? If I were Petraeus and I thought that my affair had been revealed by an illegal program, especially with his inside knowledge, I would take down this administration. He would have the backing of the public from both sides because no one wants to think we take down people this way. We stick to good ol’ mud slinging to see what sticks. If Obama had really been targeted, I do not think he would have been elected.
          Let’s step back in time for a second and think about how technology has evolved. In the early days of the telephone, there were switchboard operators who literally had the power to listen in on your calls. Where I grew up, we had party lines where we listened in on our neighbors. Today, everyone and their brother post their life story on Facebook or Twitter and it is relatively simple to put together a picture of someone in great detail using public information. Celebrities are a good example of what life in the future looks like. We know about their affairs, drug use, indiscretions, and nobody cares. Being concerned about what other people think of us is a psychological barrier to our liberty and not a gov’t imposed barrier to our liberty.
          JH

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Sorry, I didn’t notice that it was the same guy. Here is another tidbit from back in ’08: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ux1hpLvqMw&sns=em

          Speaking of Petraeus, have you seen this: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-michael-hastings-jill-kelly-case-20130620,0,2559316.story
          …maybe he isn’t done yet. 🙂 ◄Dave►

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Another interesting article on whistleblowers:

          http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/why-didnt-snowden-go-through-proper-channels-to-blow-the-whistle.html

          …which suggests that Snowden had little choice but to go to the press, according to other NSA whistleblowers, who tried to go through channels in the past. ◄Dave►

      • Larry Andrew says:

        Troy…in response and in order…

        First, not sure how knowable that is since we don’t seem to have the best intelligence on their thinking. It is not unreasonable, however, to accept the argument that if we allow these traitors to continue to do compromise our efforts, the most likely benefactors will be those we are trying to stop killing us. In regard to the Manning situation, he spilled an enormous amount of info, some of which was found at the Bin Laden compound. He must have found it useful enough to save it on his computers.

        Second, that is a bit of a chicken and egg matter, I think. I have mentioned earlier my opposition big government mainly due to the excesses of power that engenders as well as the difficulty in managing it. We have to be diligent and always questioning our governments actions. At this point in time I think the terrorists are the greatest danger to our society, tho maybe not to me since I am ensconced behind barbed wire in the wilds of the White Mountains. The potential if not real excesses of our government are currently primarily the result of the terrorists successes of the past. We find ourselves in a very difficult position trying to stop them from having any significant success in the form of, say, a dirty bomb attack or whatever and as they become more sophisticated in responding to our efforts, we keep building on the activities that can threaten our own liberties. Still, we haven’t reached the point where I am willing to say stop our efforts and let them take their best shot That could very well mean my family members living in urban areas could be wiped out.

        As far as the Franklin quote is concerned, I can only say that we each have to define what “essential liberties” are and where we each will draw the line.

        • Troy says:

          Larry,
          I suppose on this issue, we had best simply agree to disagree.

          Troy

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Larry, I too am not ready to forgive Manning for his treasonous data dump, which must have created havoc in all manner of diplomatic and security circles across the globe. I see a huge difference, however, in the whistleblower activities of Snowden. At least so far, he does not seem to have exposed any data, only the extent to which the NSA is unconstitutionally amassing it.

          Further, unlike Manning, he did not try to conceal his identity; but manned up and publicly acknowledged his deed and why he did it. That took courage few can muster; because he fully understands the price he is and will continue to pay, for what might be left of his life. By his lights, and mine, he is a Patriot, not a traitor.

          He has done our country a service, which far outweighs any damage he may have done to our foreign intelligence capabilities. As far as our efforts to intercept the communications of the Jihadis, his revelations do not interfere with the FISA court protocols, for legally accessing the communications of foreigners, who we suspect may mean us harm.

          Ditto the FBI’s ability to get a wiretap warrant on any domestic terrorists, with probable cause sufficient to convince a judge of the necessity. What he, and I, object to, is the perfunctory recording and archiving of everyone’s communications, so that if someone becomes a suspect at some later time, the government has the ability to go back through the archives for a complete history of one’s past activities, before one ever raised any such suspicion.

          The potential for mischief and abuse of such capabilities, is just to great to permit politicians and bureaucrats to have at their disposal. ◄Dave►

        • Larry Andrew says:

          Dave…I think everyone would agree that we need some system and processes to utilize the technology available to go after terrorists and governments that are doing or may do us harm.

          I do think we need to have a dialogue as to where the line is that we are comfortable with and still reach our objectives of national defense.

          I think it is clear that Snowden has done damage that far exceeds the value of his disclosures. We are not going back to no use of the electronic records we create. it will always be available to someone or some entity to abuse. Most would agree that we need to set parameters and controls that reach a balance that we can support. It is not up to Snowden to decide whether the line has been crossed.

          From what I know at this point, the tweaking needs to focus on the FISA court so that we can have some comfort that they are doing their job. Their decision to allow accumulation of bulk data without our knowledge was wrong. I am not sure how we deal with it but there will be a solution developed.

          The contrary argument supporting Snowden opens up a huge can of worms that must be closed immediately. The only way I can see we stop leaks is to prosecute fully. I am disappointed that the charges filed seem to be minimal. I also think we need to pursue him even if he is granted asylum. If we cannot go get him like we did Bin Laden, we should force the countries involved to pay a huge price economically and politically.

        • Larry Andrew says:

          There is some reporting that Snowden is going to Russia and then to Cuba for asylum. He is accompanied by diplomats, etc. I would support forcing his plane to land at a place we can arrest him.

    • Troy says:

      Larry,
      It seems that former Vice President Cheney agrees with you that Snowden (and presumably, all those like him) should be prosecuted for treason. I respond, what else can you expect? Cheney is a member of the governing class and Snowden’s act was, if nothing else, an action against said governing class (as was Manning’s).

      It may surprise you to know that I agree that Snowden did commit treason, per established law. Yet, I am reminded of an earlier time when a whole “gang” set out to commit what was clearly treason under established law. In that case, the “gang” went so far as to document their treason, each of them signing the treasonous document in an open act of lawlessness and defiance. I will not name them here but, if any of you should wonder who they were, the treasonous document they signed can be found on the internet — and in our National Archives — with their names attached.

      You see, there is an interesting thing about established law. Bastiat said, and I totally agree, that the only valid basis for the law is to establish and enforce justice. Ergo, when an established law is used in an unjust manner, it loses its authority. That was the argument the Founders made against King George and his government (which, by the way, was considered among the very most enlightened at the time).

      It is also why U.S. law allows a jury to refuse to convict a person who has clearly violated an established law, if, in their opinion, the application of that law (in that case) would constitute an injustice (an act known as “jury nullification”).

      My point is that a law, in and of itself, cannot be accepted as always just, because any law can be applied in an unjust fashion. Does this mean that any of us are free to simply ignore any law we happen not to like at the moment? Of course not. But, IMHO, it does mean that each and every citizen subject to said law has the right to question it, and, if they honestly think it is being used unjustly, to defy it. The bottom line test then should be whether a case of defiance of a law by a citizen was or was not in the interest of justice. The simple fact that a law was broken is not enough, else tyrants automatically have a legal basis for their tyranny.

      At this point, I do not know for sure whether Snowden (or Manning) acted in the cause of justice or not. But I insist that any determination of guilt or punishment be based on that, and not on the simple fact that they defied a law. Please do not misconstrue this to imply that I am comparing Snowden and Manning with our Founders… I am only suggesting that their motivations may have been similar. Or not, as we will learn if we examine the evidence fairly and without emotion.

      I hope this makes my position clearer. I also appreciate all the give and take this subject has generated.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Well said, Troy. See also: Civil Disobedience. ◄Dave►

      • Larry Andrew says:

        Yes, Troy…very well said. Each of us has to decide what level of participation our consciences will allow before we say enough and sacrifice ourselves for the common good by defying the law.

        Problem for me is that the potential consequences of releasing national security info could be incredibly broad and endanger a lot of people and countries.

        It is one thing to decide that one can’t participate in a program or process that crosses a boundary that one, individually, has established. One could simply refuse to participate, give up the $200k job and try some other job.

        It is quite another to sacrifice individuals and our country’s national security on one’s personal judgement that the entire system crosses the line and that the “collateral damage” to others is an acceptable consequence. That is a judgement that cannot be allowed to be exercised by an individual without heavy consequences that are proportionate to the damage to others.

      • Larry Andrew says:

        Troy…in regard to Cheney, I have to agree with Snowden who opined to the effect that Cheney’s declaration is the greatest compliment an American can receive. He said that because it came from Cheney. I detest Cheney, consider him one of the worst public servants with power that I have known.

        As has been said somewhere, however, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    • Troy says:

      Another interesting article on whistleblowers:

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/why-didnt-snowden-go-through-proper-channels-to-blow-the-whistle.html

      …which suggests that Snowden had little choice but to go to the press, according to other NSA whistleblowers, who tried to go through channels in the past.

      Does this not take us directly to the point of this discussion? What is one to do when they suspect wrongdoing on the part of those who control the “system” (including what we are calling “the proper channels”)?

      It is the same problem one confronts when detecting crime that is perpetuated with the help of corrupt law enforcement personnel. If one reports such crime to the “police”, how does one know for sure that the “police” in question are not part of the corrupt element that is, in itself, part and parcel of the crime?

      Lord Acton’s axiom is being proven over and over by the acts of our present “government”… power corrupts. And, as the power of government is ever more concentrated in the hands of the few, it is an absolute of human nature that those few will be ever more corrupted by that power. This is the simple reason that the Founders tried so hard to limit the power of the Federal Government.

      Anyone who trusts the Government of the United States of America, especially in believing that this government works for the good of the common people, is a misguided fool. Nothing more, nothing less. If some of you find offense in this remark, then I am sorry for you. All I ask you to remember is that however noble the idea of Patriotism may seem, it is not a substitute for reason.

      Troy

      • Larry Andrew says:

        So..Troy…seems that if I disagree with your assessment of the situation, I am a fool in your eyes. That view seems to limit the value of any dialogue since I am sure you have no interest in discussions with foolish people.

        • Mary says:

          Let me see if I can state this succinctly so as to offend no one, or everyone. I know Larry well enough, I believe, to say he is no fool. However, I agree with Troy that belief in this government (not just an Obama administration) is wholeheartedly foolish.

          Perhaps I have just become more of an anarchist, more deeply cynical of all the world around me, but my new motto has become:

          REVOLUTION, AND NOTHING LESS!

        • Larry Andrew says:

          I do not trust any government. I especially do not trust big government and the federal government. Perhaps the difference is that I acknowledge that it has some legitimate functions, the most important to me being national defense. Even so, I don’t trust the government to exercise its power without abusing it. I could support a revolution, I suppose, if I had any idea what its purpose and outcomes might be. I have often expressed the view that one is likely given the excesses of big government and big business.

          In the instance we have been discussing, I have not yet heard any information that suggests to me that the actual outcome of the Snowden revelations have done anything but harm our efforts and that he is any less than a traitor. My position does not equate with a trust of government, any government. My further position is he should be shot else others might think they can represent the public and common good by disclosing secrets. There must be a bunch of jerks out there who would love to be a hero in the minds of the disenchanted, mindless, thoughtless rabble.

        • Troy says:

          Larry,
          I have never said that you or anyone else who disagrees with me is a fool. What I clearly said was that it is foolish to believe that our current government operates for the good of the people.

          Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Excellent article, Troy, as was yours. The extent to which the hideous creed of altruism has been ingrained in the collectivist minds of the sheeple, in our dying culture that was once based on individualism, is truly depressing.

      When the interview with Snowden first broke, before this hero/traitor debate even got started, I posted on another forum:

      Not only is my country rapidly changing; I am. I despised Danial Elisberg; I have had no sympathy for Brian Manning; I am sure in an earlier time, I would have condemned Edward Snowden for violating the trust of his security clearance, if not treason. I do not; I admire him; and that tells me a lot…

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

      …do watch the video. This is no young fool. He knows exactly what he is doing, why he is doing it, and the consequences he will likely incur. I salute him. ◄Dave►

      I fully expected him to be condemned and demonized by those with an authoritarian collectivist mindset, who regard the welfare of the herd as defined by the ‘authorities,’ superior to the principles of any individual. I am sure he did too. We have not been disappointed.

      As an aside, speaking of ‘authorities,’ those calling him a liar and claiming he was a low level grunt, who had been given no ‘authority’ to fully utilize the system, fail to understand what the word means to an IT guy, working at the OS level. He was not referring to user level permissions.

      Think of the ‘administrator’ status in the Windows OS, which is necessary to make changes to the computer system itself that other users cannot. Of necessity, a Windows administrator has the software ‘authorities’ to do much mischief, including create new users and set their permissions, or copy any file on the system to a pen drive. ◄Dave►

      • Larry Andrew says:

        Dave…I’m certainly not condemning anyone who thinks Snowden is a hero. I just think they are wrong. Ellsburg, Manning and Snowden are traitors in that they all disclosed classified, top secret information. I cannot understand how anyone can excuse what they have done. If they are heroes, how many other low-life’s do we have who will do the same. How do we control secrets.

        I am still processing the info that is coming out regarding the programs that were disclosed and have not yet decided my view on whether they have crossed a line for me regarding my privacy and whether they present a threat to my individual liberty. That is a separate issue for me.

        If I decide that the government has exceeded their authority and developed a program that is a threat to my freedom, I will still continue to insist that the individuals who disclose secrets are traitors and that there is no way to qualify such actions based on the information that was disclosed.

        • Troy says:

          Larry,
          The first problem I have with your position is that it seems to imply that any use, by government, of the ability to declare certain information “classified” is automatically and always necessary for national security as well as in conformance with our Constitution. I think there is every reason to dispute this. As we have seen from the information released in all the cases being discussed in this thread, a frequent basis for the “confidentiality” was to hide malfeasance and misfeasance on the part of government.

          The second problem I have with your position is the suggestion that high-level people in government are always more qualified to think for the rest of us than some mere ordinary person. Since I am a member of the latter group, I reject this notion. We have never recognized a divine right kings and I do not wish to start now. How else are we-the-sheeple to find out about misconduct in the highest circles if we grant them a blanket right to hide anything they wish behind the wall of “national security”?

          Troy

        • Larry Andrew says:

          Troy….your points are well made and I really do clearly understand the problem. I recognize the problem of delegating to government the power to establish such programs as well as the danger of accepting that those in power can decide such issues without challenge.

          However, we cannot have a proper defense of our liberties without establishing a system and rules for its operation. Our system of representative government produces the system and our representatives are given the authority to oversee and delegate the processes to execute the system..it cannot be otherwise.

          I think it is most likely that there would have been a full and complete national discussion of the issues Snowden raised without his disclosures. Senator Wyden of Oregon and others have been poking fingers in the eyes of these program operators for quite a while and it was only a matter of time until we reached the point where we had enough info thru regular processes to decide whether the programs are acceptable to us.

          As it stands now, it seems that Snowden not only raised some issues regarding internal electronic surveillance but gave up info regarding very effective programs to gather foreign intelligence that have now been compromised. We are currently in a information war using technology that we have to win. Snowden has hurt us badly. It seems that he picked a country for protection that is undoubtedly thrilled to have the opportunity to pick his brain. If China doesn’t, Russia would love to take him in.

          The more I learn, the more I am reminded of the cold war spies that Russia had planted in British Intelligence. Further, his status as a real life traitor of the first order is increasingly clear.

  • ◄Dave► says:

    What if this speculation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb_YL8F5ZtA&sns=em

    …about Justice Roberts is accurate? Would that constitute a negative effect on our Liberty? ◄Dave►

  • Chris says:

    Here’s a video I posted on another site a few days ago. It may lend some insight into the ramifications of what we already know they are doing. http://tspeak.us/members-2/adirondack/activity/4345/

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