Edward Snowden What Did He Really Reveal?

Edward Snowden What Did He Really Reveal?Senator Rand Paul once again defended American whistle blower Edward Snowden on Sunday, telling ABC that although Snowden broke the law, he also “revealed great abuses of our government and great abuses of our intelligence community.” This added to the reignited debate of whether Snowden deserves some leniency if he were to come back to United States.

Since 2010 when Wikileaks made a splash in media with their Baghdad Air Strike video, the public opinion of whistle blowing became, and has remained ever since, one of the most dividing topics. It is no surprise then that when former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden released classified documents showing how NSA monitored all phone calls, mostly within United States, and piled them into giant metadata, he had plenty of defenders and accusers. The media went rather mad over the whole affair, constantly bloating the story to the point that it seemed as though Snowden had revealed the dirtiest and the most illegal of secrets in United States government. It was as if he had revealed that particular FBI or NSA agent sitting quietly at his desk with large headphones, listening to people’s most private conversations, regardless of the subject matter.

The truth, however, is less fun and sinister. This idea that NSA was not using the data that was legally available to them in forms of cell phones or Internet or really any other imaginable device which collects data, is naïve. It is their job to protect citizens by using any legal methods they find to do it.

Legal? Yes, a fact that so many people haven’t seemed to realize about Snowden’s leak is that he hasn’t revealed anything illegal. The current discussion of the leak, for political reasons, might push the issue up the Supreme Court where it might be found unconstitutional, but it doesn’t mean that the NSA did anything illegal at the time. They simply operated within the legal boundaries presented to them and if the court chooses to shrink those boundaries, well then NSA should act accordingly.

The reason why the leak had such a massive exposure was seemed more emotional than anything. It was because of that uncomfortable thought of “What if somebody is listening to me right now?” Unfortunately the whole trumped up notion of privacy being at risk is really just a bit paranoid. Could the security listen to your private conversations? Yes, after they establish a probable cause that an individual is a security threat and have their wiretapping request approved by a judge. Do they listen to just regular “people-talk?” Of course they don’t. Could they even attempt such thing, with 314 million people living in United States? The truth is again, rather simple, that the NSA doesn’t care about private conversations. Unless someone presents a probable risk, the NSA couldn’t care less about what individuals do or discuss in private.

Snowden could have been a hero, because after all, whistle blowing can be a patriotic act. History offers plenty of examples, both in the U.S. and abroad, when the government security does sinister things worth exposing, but Snowden’s classified documents were not one of them. The problem of Snowden and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is that they are treating freedom of information as something sacred, something pure, an ideal. While freedom of information is good, it should not be at all costs.

The world of today is full of digital data. If it’s legal, security will use that data. Is that really a controversial idea? The leak which exposed NSA’s inner workings in such an embarrassing way did little else besides make headlines. It did not reveal the tyrannical government apparatus which many people like to imagine. The whole thing was really rather dull. When Senator Paul called the NSA’s programs “great abuses of our government,” what is he referring to besides the hypothetical damage that it does in his intellectual libertarian utopia. But where are the actual illegal acts? Where is the actual damage?

By Ildar Sverigin



13 Responses to "Edward Snowden What Did He Really Reveal?"

  1. noneofyourbusiness   July 6, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    This article is extremely naive. Typical unthinking “silly conspiracy theorists, it’s their JOB to protect us, so of course we can trust them, and of course we can’t always know everything about how they’re doing it!” dribble. If you think the government doesn’t care about private conversations, you are an idiot. The whole point of the patriot acts and all of thus surveillance is to give them eyes everywhere, so that as dissent increases for their abuse, they can quickly sniff-out and snuff-out anything that might become a threat to their tyranny under the guise of “combating terrorism.”

    Tom Snyder – “… isn’t the U.S. government supposed to do things FOR America, not AGAINST America, anyway??? Duh!”

    You oversimplify, possibly because you yourself are overly simple.

    A) what the united states government is SUPPOSED to do and what they will ACTUALLY do cannot ever be safely presumed to be the same thing. Not after Guantanimo and the plethora of other things we have found out that we’re “not supposed to know” in recent years.

    B) “America” includes both us (regular citizens) AND them (government workers.) To assume that they will necessarily always act in whatever way benefits the common people, and/or that they will never act in a way that benefits themselves at our expense, is plainly stupid. They obviously stand to benefit by establishing and maintaining control over us through myriad means – the control of information (and misinformation,) by creating laws (like those for gun control) that make it more difficult for the average citizen to protect themselves against rampant authoritarian abuse, or amendments to the constitution to authorize the state of martial law (for example) so they can always overpower anyone, anywhere, and of course also through sentiment and sophistry.

    The hasty, unthinking assumptions of people like yourself are what they love most. Congratulations, you are the sheep being blindly herded and fleeced for their benefit. You don’t even realize that they’ve become an even more terrifying version of the British government we fought to gain independence for this country in the first place.

    • tlsnyder42   July 7, 2016 at 10:15 am

      I’m more concerned about religious liberty for Bible-believing Jews and Christians, gun rights, Obamacare, immigration, high taxes and regulations, sanctuary cities, and the life of the preborn, not to mention the corruption of the mass media. Not that concerned about data mining; more concerned about secret FEMA plans to round up Non-Muslims in a “state of emergency” and wiretapping/intimidation of reporters of Justice Roberts, not to mention Comey. We’ve already given them control of our retirement, our healthcare, our schools, our colleges, and our businesses, but people are suddenly SO concerned about data mining for overseas terrorist, while the FBI drops the ball on Orlando, Boston and San Bernardino. I don’t get it. Snowden ran to Red China, then Russia. He sounds like a traitor to me.

      • Allen   July 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

        I have said that if I could, I would hide Snowden. Its not what he revealed that caused a stink, it was this ridiculous gov’s inability to keep information secret. Hilarious almost got away with the same thing and she might yet. Its mind-bogeling that this ignorant country wants to put another idiot in high office. I still bet she has sickle-cell trait. Most of the rest of the world knows what those “secrets” are. And if they don’t, they will pay to get them.

  2. Allen   May 7, 2016 at 3:45 am

    We can always count on the media to over-exploit whatever information they can get!! Right or wrong, what Snowden did was a good thing and this stupid government got caught with its pants down, no surprise there.
    Snowden would make a much better president than anyone out there right now, and he is the closest thing to honesty that this country has seen in a long time, if ever!!!

  3. Tom Snyder   November 8, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Snowden claims that the NSA actions put a chilling effect on free speech and political activity, especially thru the Internet. He also claims that the NSA uses its apparatus to promote America and its businesses’ economic and political superiority, not just to keep tabs on overseas terrorists and their “plans.” He seems to be short on specific details, however. Also, isn’t the U.S. government supposed to do things FOR America, not AGAINST America, anyway??? Duh!

  4. caros   August 25, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Goodluck with the better world… Chances of a turning point are slim to none.

  5. tammy   May 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Snowden said it was senior officials within the NSA. Ya know what he’s trying to say – don’t ya? Me oh my ….I know the power goes to peoples heads when they have it, I have a concern over the paranoia that surrounds the power players and the tactics they use.

  6. tammy   May 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    So let them listen in, I’ll give them a story line they won’t soon forget. They want a story, they got it. lol Like , no one knew they listened in anyway. Have fun with it! BTW- Could the author of this story sound more compromised or what? Nice slant on the news . I thought reporters were supposed to report the news and not be biased. I guess not. Snowden knows more then he is saying – I’ll be money on it . Oh snap!

  7. tammy   May 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    I’m just a little worried cuz he had to go to Russia. I don’t like that, I don’t trust Putin and I worry they will make him into a double agent. Also I can’t believe Snowden was a high school drop out. WOW!

  8. clint timberwood   March 20, 2014 at 3:46 am

    If snowden revealled nothing illegal or important….then why was he hunted across the world,by the CIA ,and why was his pleas for sanctuary ignored by so many nations governments,why is he living in russia,wake up and smell the coffee people,you cant believe everything you read in papers either.g

  9. RuiNing   January 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Who I call is my business, not the NSA’s, as for my service provider, it is only their business in regard to billing, which again is none of the NSA’s business.

  10. RuiNing   January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    The US government already has a deterrent for leakers, it’s called the Whistleblower laws, any would be complainer or reporter of wrong doing would be afraid to complain or report anything, those laws do not protect anyone as they should, they do not present even a possibility of an effective result. Anyone going through the right channels risks being charged, maligned, and down right abused.
    This alone is reason to drop all and any charges on Snowden, the government is responsible for this entire mess, if the right channels actually were safe to use, then Snowden would have used them, and if not, then the government would have a real case. But, it did not, and thus Snowden had no good choice to make, but he did have a duty to the people, to the constitution, which is above the confidentiality contract he signed. To use the “proper channels” one would have to be a fool.
    There is enough evidence to bring charges against Clapper, but no, nothing happens to him at all. The was enough evidence to bring charges on those helicopter pilots Manning outed, but nothing. There are many more things that need to go to court, but because they involve government or military personnel many do not even see a prosecutor, let alone a courtroom. This tells of a two tier legal system. Obama himself should probably be impeached, and if such were the case he would most likely get a pardon.
    As for the leakes world wide, many of those involve US citizens data, many of the other things involve very poor diplomatic judgement. The sharing of personal meta data and the conspirational agreement between the “5 EYES” used to avoid local laws to spy on citizens should be considered treason.
    This spying is not about terrorism, it’s about political, economic and military domination, terrorism is just the dog wagging. Sure terrorism exists, but it was made worse by the hegemonic actions of the US and it’s supporters. We now live in a world where we have war for profit, due mainly to privatised weapons manufacturing corporation, who need war and conflict to be constant, and this suits the hegemony of the government very well indeed.
    The biggest problem is fear, it is used against us, the government fears being found wanting and is terrified of being found criminal.
    There should be no plea agreement, the charges should be dropped, and Snowden’s information should be allowed to be reported.
    New attitudes might one day give us a better world, but the way things are now, we will likely have war and conflict with a dash of surveillance on the side for ever.

    • football411blog   February 19, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      “We now live in a world where we have war for profit, due mainly to privatised weapons manufacturing corporation, who need war and conflict to be constant, and this suits the hegemony of the government very well indeed.”

      This couldn’t be more on point!

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