CBS’s Bob Schieffer offers some commentary that’s highly critical of NSA-leaker Edward Snowden.
Now, I’m admittedly growing increasingly uncomfortable with Snowden’s growing number of leaks, especially when he started leaking the details of US spying on Russia, revelations that have little to do with protecting Americans from the surveillance state.
Nonetheless, I think Bob Schieffer goes a bit overboard, or rather, misses the mark in his criticism of Snowden. And while a number of our readers support Snowden, I still think it’s useful to hear the criticism, if only to better understand why you support him.
Schieffer’s argument has a few problems. First of all, Schieffer says that Snowden is no Rosa Parks or MLK. I don’t think anyone was arguing that he was. And while Schieffer criticizes Snowden for hiding in China (which does leave me with a bad taste – I mean, China, really – was North Korea unavailable?), suggesting that Park and MLK never fled to China does ignore the fact that we’d probably never hear from Snowden again had he stayed in the states and been arrested.
Then Schieffer brings up 9/11 as a justification for the NSA’s actions that Snowden has revealed. It’s a valid argument with a valid counter-argument. We all know too well how the Bush administration abused the “9/11” argument to justify all sorts of things, so while I’m not willing to say that our spy agencies are unnecessary, I’m also not willing to say that we should forgive every possible overreach in the name of September 11.
Schieffer is on firmer ground when he notes that our elected officials are the ones responsible for keeping an eye on government excess, not private citizens. But, we do have whistleblower statutes to protect government employees who feel the need to come forward, so it’s not always wrong for government employees to speak up. Having said that, I’m still not convinced that Snowden is a true whistleblower – he strikes me more as someone who was shocked at what our spy agencies spy after having willingly joined those agencies, knowing that they, you know, spy.
And finally, Schieffer closing his commentary by arguing that Snowden would help his cause by giving himself up, well, no not really. I’m not sure that I support Snowden’s cause, but I’m still not fool enough to suggest that getting forever sent down a Gitmo rabbit hole is going to help him get his message out.
Nonetheless, Schieffer’s criticism, if anything, nudges me in the direction of Snowden’s camp (though I’m still not in his camp). So it’s worth watching, if only to help solidify where you stand on the entire issue.