Questions about our hearts, minds
How much posturing is being done and what is actually happening behind the scenes in the Edward Snowden case won’t be revealed until the tell-all book that will come out six months or six years from now.
Monday brought the strange specter of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Snowden could come out of limbo at the Moscow airport but he’d have to agree to stop doing damage to the United States.
“If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips,” Putin reportedly said.
Snowden has pretty much united both sides of the aisle in Congress and much of the U.S. populace behind Vladimir Putin, of all things. The support for the programs in the name of security continues a month after Snowden’s revelations.
One thing we can be sure of is that Putin isn’t thinking about the basic violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution that the spying programs revealed by Snowden reveal.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
That is the heart of the entire story. Though the government avers that the system of gathering digital data and phone call data is not indiscriminately used against the people of the United States of America within the United States of America, the apparatus still exists, still gathers the data every moment of every day. And someday, somehow, if the nation elects someone who really wants to trample enemies foreign and domestic underfoot, the abrogation of the Fourth Amendment by the domestic data gathering program will enable the trampling.
Snowden is unfortunately becoming the show, in a way that Daniel Ellsberg became the show momentarily until it was revealed that President Richard Nixon’s plumbers had broken into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office.
It is easy enough to make the leaker the show, which takes the eyes off the inherent constitutional violation, whereby spying takes place in the name of safety and fighting terror, without public Congressional action, without a formal public declaration of the suspension of a piece of the Constitution, thus making people secure only in that someone, somewhere could someday look very closely at them, perhaps with a secret warrant and no revelation of probable cause with the place to be searched the entire World Wide Web.
Chilling, isn’t it?
We can forgive Putin, but we wonder where the hearts and minds of Americans who support the big-spy antiterror apparatus lie.