"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide." The government and its apologists have been saying this for over eleven years now, ever since it used 9/11 as a pretext to seize sundry unconstitutional, un-American powers for itself under the PATRIOT Act.
Judging by how badly the NSA and its apologists
are reacting to Edward Snowden's leak of NSA activities, it's obvious they feel they do
have something to hide, which according to their own logic means they know they've done something very, very wrong indeed.
Pretty soon, I expect, we'll start seeing news reports discussing every terrible thing Snowden's done in his life -- the girl whose pigtails he pulled in first grade reminding us he's been a sexual predator for at least that long, the girl to whom he lost his virginity assuring us that he really sucks in the sack -- but even if it's true I simply don't care. Martin Luther King, after all, really was
a womanizing philanderer, but that does nothing to reduce the value of the great things he did for America.
My hope is that Snowden and his leaks prove to be the final straw, and the outrage generated will bring back the fourth amendment in full (not just the ability to have private communications with our friends, but also the ability to travel throughout our own country without first being subject to a TSA molestation). My fear is that this will soon be forgotten as the 24-hour news cycle moves on to something more interesting. Even now, a cursory glance at the news shows more coverage of last night's Game of Thrones
season finale than of the actual game of thrones and power playing out in Washington.
This quote explaining Snowden's rationale proves that, if nothing else, I'm not the only one dismayed by how President Obama turned out to be merely Bush 2.0; I only wish I'd been in a position to do as much for the country as Snowden has. And I hope he finds comfortable asylum in a country that does not extradite to the US:
Snowden said the NSA's
reach poses "an existential threat to democracy." He said he had hoped
the Obama administration would end the programs once it took office in
2009, but instead, he said, President Obama "advanced the very policies
that I thought would be reined in."
"I don't see myself as a
hero, because what I'm doing is self-interested," he said. "I don't
want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room
for intellectual exploration and creativity."
On Friday, Obama said he
entered office skeptical of such programs, but decided to reauthorize
them after a thorough vetting and the addition of unspecified additional
safeguards. He called them only "modest encroachments on privacy" that
help thwart terror attacks.
Translated from bureaucratese into American, that means "I disapproved of such power when it was used against me, but realized how awesome it was once I wielded it myself."