33 votes

Should Edward Snowden Be Pardoned? HELL, NO!


WHY SHOULDN'T EDWARD SNOWDEN BE PARDONED? Simple: He didn't do anything wrong.

Advocating for a pardon for a law-upholding American like Snowden is as improper as suggesting that NSA Constitutional violations can be meaningfully "reformed" by having the telecoms illegally store (seize) unsuspected people's private data until the government decides to poke through it, instead of the current practice of the NSA holding it, as is being proposed by beleaguered statists. Both masquerade as concessions while coyly assuming core propositions serving their advocate's persistently wrong-headed political positions.

Let's dispose of the "reform" proposal first.

Apologists for the police-state, recognizing that the American people are reaching the boiling point but still clinging to the hope that 100 years of dumbing-down in government schools will win the day for them, are slyly proposing a "reform" of the total-awareness outrage. Under this proposal, your telecom would record and retain everything it can about you-- your movements, your communications, your web-searches and so on, holding it all against the possibility that at some point in the future the state might decide to paw through it. This purports to be a "reform" by virtue of the fact that at present the government itself stores all this personal material.

The notion here is that we should all view the violative element of the NSA hoovering to lie in who is holding your stuff, not the fact that it is being seized in the first place. Under this notion you should also be okay with the driver of the bus you use to get around town making a government-directed record of all your entrance and exit locations (and maybe even of any place he saw you go when off the bus), or the waiter at your favorite restaurant tape-recording your dinner conversations, as long as neither record went anywhere... for the moment.

This "reform" proposal is a contemptuous parody of a proper acknowledgment and reaction to the crimes committed by the Surveillance State. It actually proposes the first step down a worse path than the one we're on now, assuming in principle the propriety of everyone being required to have cameras installed in our homes recording everything at all times to their own hard-drives-- until a warrant is issued, at which point the police show up and take those drives back to the station-house for study. Hello, Big Brother. Goodbye, Lady Liberty.

Emerson warned us long ago that, "Every reform is only a mask under cover of which a more terrible reform, which dares not yet name itself, advances." His wisdom is nowhere more apt than in regard to this surveillance-crime "reform" proposal.

AS FOR EDWARD SNOWDEN, to argue for his pardon is to assume him guilty of some crime-- and to imply the legality of what he exposed, under the political and legal version of Newton's Third Law. Neither is true.

Snowden took an oath: "I, Edward Snowden, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..." The Constitution being the supreme law of the land, to which ALL government activity is subordinate, it is plain that Snowden's oath to uphold and defend the Constitution controls his potential culpability in regard to the secrecy agreement and the "espionage" and other laws he is accused of breaking.

An apt analogy to Snowden's situation would be that of a child instructed by his father to report any delinquency of which he became aware, and faithfully promising to do so. Later the boy is sworn to secrecy by another kid and told of an ongoing campaign of vandalism around the neighborhood, but the "swearing to secrecy" is understood by both boys as not applying to anything the boy's father has instructed him to reveal (since those accusing Snowden are themselves subject to the same oath to support and defend "Dad's rules" -- that is, the Constitution).

Plainly the boy, like Edward Snowden, is obliged to reveal the secret. Plainly the boy, like Edward Snowden, has violated no legitimate duty to the contrary in doing so.

The fact is, oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution such as the one Snowden swore are required in order to ensure that other agreements, and the apparent scope and character of official acts and enactments, don't successfully serve as mantles under which government actors are co-opted into participation in, or silence about, constitution-violating practices. Snowden has been a good and faithful oath-keeper, and the only crimes with which he is connected are those of others which he exposed to the light of day.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”
-[Attributed to various insightful observers]

NOTE: Hearkening back to the first part of this commentary in which I address the NSA mass-data-seizure practices, I want to take this opportunity to make another point. The "PATRIOT Act" provision under which much of the seizure outrages are purportedly authorized, section 215, allows for the collection of "business records" by replacing a portion of Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 with the following:


‘‘(a)(1) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.

WORD TO THE COURTS: Data in the possession of my telecoms about what I'VE done with MY phone or computer is nobody's "business record"! How much Verizon spent in 2013 to provide me (and everyone else in the aggregate) with service is an example of a "business record". Information about what I did with the provided service might be in Verizon's records, but it is not among Verizon's "business records".

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I believe its called an XBox

"...cameras installed in our homes recording everything at all times to their own hard-drives..."


I understand your point. But he should still be pardoned. It would set a good example that people like him are treated with respect that he deserves. Pardon him and say that others like him will also be pardoned if they blow their whistle and bring more oversight to the government.

I am Ron Paul

I think

Edward should be made head of the NSA and Clapper should be exiled to Baghdad.

i think the sociopaths in office should apologies

for being incompetent!

meekandmild's picture


All charges should be dropped!

Right one, write on, and well

Right on, write on, and well said!

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

Indeed. I was going to write

Indeed. I was going to write something similar under Michael's thread regarding the NY Times' suggestion on Snowden's future. The NY Times erroneously assumes Snowden acted improperly, i.e. suggesting revelation of classified information. Frankly, any classified items that protect CRIMINAL behavior should be void on their face. Furthermore, the only participant in this unconstitutional behavior that needs serious oversight, reduction or outright ELIMINATION is the National Security Agency. The NSA is now clearly a threat to the US Constitution. Snowden, stay where you can live freely until the criminal cartel running the federal government of the USA is removed, detained, and brought to trial for treason.