I don’t always agree with The New York Times Editorial Board, frankly, I rarely agree with them, but this is something that me and the Times editors have in common, Edward Snowden should not be treated like a criminal.
What Snowden has given the people of the United States is an accurate and realistic view of our government, a government that spies on its citizens and lies about it. As the editors put it:
Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
And as the editorial points out, there was no other legitimate way for Snowden to alert the public of these abuses.
A few of ther revelations:
■ The N.S.A. broke federal privacy laws, or exceeded its authority, thousands of times per year, according to the agency’s own internal auditor.
■ The agency broke into the communications links of major data centers around the world, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts and infuriating the Internet companies that own the centers. Many of those companies are now scrambling to install systems that the N.S.A. cannot yet penetrate.
■ The N.S.A. systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the Internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust.
Read the rest here.