In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that includes the Pentagon Papers, for which I was responsible 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution.
“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
I would say we have, in fact, fallen into that abyss. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers that the Stasi in the former East Germany could only have dreamed of. What has been feared and warned about has come to pass. The so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.
The question now is whether Senator Church was right or wrong that crossing the abyss was irreversible. Three days ago, I would have agreed that effective democracy was now impossible. But with this brave man Snowden willing to put his life on the line to get this information out, creating the possibility that others will join him, I think we can get back across the abyss.
As Daniel Ellsberg noted in the article, “…this brave man Snowden willing to put his life on the line to get this information out, creating the possibility that others will join him, I think we can get back across the abyss.”
I hope he is right. It was a major sacrifice by a true hero and I would hate for his “enormous civil courage‘ not be worth the sacrifice he made.
Really, there are no words in the face of such heroism knowing the full weight of probable consequences. It is amazing.
All I can say is, thank you Edward Snowden.