Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is outraged that Edward Snowden has exposed the National Security Administration’s snooping into the private communications of the American people and wants him tried for treason. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has a more thoughtful, constructive view: “A senator’s job is to engage in oversight in what the government is doing. When the American people learn how Section 215 of the Patriot Act is interpreted (by NSA), they will be shocked and angry.”
Snowden clearly stated (imagine, a high school dropout being so articulate) his reason for action: The public needs to know whether it’s right to conduct these activities in secret. He hopes his action will initiate a public debate. Is this treasonous?
While campaigning in 2008, President Obama stated he supports whistle-blowers and that his administration would be absolutely open and transparent. Yet, his administration has prosecuted more whistle-blowers than all previous administrations combined.
Snowden and Bradley Manning are courageous American patriots, risking their freedom to tell the generally complacently compliant public when the government abuses its power. We should thank them and conduct congressional hearings into the issues they raise.