Constitutional QuandarySubmitted by Al S on Sun, 06/23/2013 - 13:38
These are times when loyalty and adherence to the Constitution, upholding it against all enemies, foreign and domestic, affect the future of every American. I think things are heading out of the purview of Congress and Administration, and onto a monumental Supreme court decision. Looking at what's been going on, with “... Snowden engaged in unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information. ...” I offer these observations: Just like Bradly Manning, Edward Snowden broke his oath of secrecy, and then illegally disseminated classified information. As any American would, he has been accused and will be prosecuted in front of judge and jury. The same thing happened to Daniel Ellsberg. After breaking his oath and releasing classified information, he was tried through the American Judicial System. What happened? The Supreme Court exonerated him, based not on the obvious illegality of his actions, rather on proven illegal government access to his private papers! The court did not judge release of classified information. Back then Ellsberg did not leave American soil like Snowden now did. On the other hand, like Manning, would Snowden be open to spending a year in solitary, sometimes naked? That could be a decisive consideration in hightailing it. As it turned out, Ellsberg exposed secrets that were considered by many US citizens to be wrongly kept from public view in the first place, because their exposure enabled people to judge the necessity for war with Vietnam. At that time the Supreme Court avoided doing so. Now here we are again with exposed secrets, this time with the further challenge of defining an enemy. Under the Espionage Act, in 1918, it was clear which nation states were protagonists, in war against the USA, spying on military objectives. In 2013, looks like nation states are no longer easily defined enemies, while spying on military objectives has burgeoned into spying on every living creature in the world. This now defines the war on terror. The UCMJ will deal with Manning. With openly proclaimed wellsprings of support now surrounding Snowden, appeals up to the Supreme Court in his case, when it comes, seem inevitable. What the Supreme Court will do with the civilian US citizen Snowden, under the current circumstances then becomes The Question. Hopefully the government, in their zeal to prosecute, does not once again step over the line of legality, and nullify a decision in the case. Only so can the validity of digitally tracking everywhere on everyone, all the time, be decided. Such a Supreme Court decision would essentially condone or reject what is happening. Just like the hard decision they made choosing a president between Gore and Bush, the Supremes will have their work cut out for them. This time however, the decision they take will be, perhaps, their most vital work ever, in service to the Constitution of the United States.