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December 24, 2013 / Ryan Edward Roberts

A Scary Divide


So Edward Snowden broke the law by revealing government secrets. That is a legal view of it, however we must not forget that laws are written by people in power, and that a law can be a bad law, or at least poorly-written. I do believe that it should be illegal to do what Snowden did, generally speaking, but I also believe that what he did specifically was courageously right. He let everyone know that the government had taken a law, passed by congress, and ran with it further than what I imagine most of the legislators ever imagined it would. He showed that the Executive branch, through the NSA, really had become Big Brother.

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What has been just as startling to me is how there are such differences of opinion among various government officials response to Edward Snowden’s public disclosures.  There are many members of Congress supporting him, and many others calling for his head. As I write this, Congress is reviewing the law and it’s authorities that has made this spying “legal”. Understand that since it was the Congress that passed this law to begin with, many members apparently feel they must defend their actions by defending the NSA’s spying programs, regardless of how many ways our Constitutional liberties get trampled in the process.

A former head of the CIA, James Woolsey, said on live tv that Snowden should be hanged. That kind of feeling is echoed by many others in our Federal government. Yet there are many others in the government who hail Snowden as a champion for democracy and freedom, or at least say that what the government is doing is wrong. How can so many different high-ranking and powerful people in Washington have such a different take on this? It seems to me that basically one group is saying that the government is both right and rightful to spy on all of us, while the other group in our government is saying “no”, it is unconstitutional.

That there are differences of opinion in Washington is nothing new, and is actually a very good thing. That there is such stark differences of opinion on this particular issue though is downright scary to me. It means to me that a large part of those in power see our constitution as a hinderance to their goals, rather than the guarantor of rights that we should all agree upon.

This is the kind of things that create civil wars.

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