Scott St. Clair: Edward Snowden and the NSA: Love the Sin but Hate the Sinner

June 13, 2013

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Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old high school dropout media darling de jour, turns an old evangelical maxim on its head: With him, it’s love the sin but hate the sinner.Scott Prism

An instant celebrity for outing the National Security Agency’s snooping into the phone records of millions of Americans and its PRISM program that sees what you post on the Internet almost before you post it, he’s become the adored hero of the anti-American left and perennially adolescent Ron Paul sycophants nationwide.

I despise the very notion of what the NSA and other federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have done in the name of security, and I’m glad their abuses of process and civil liberties are coming to light. I don’t care if a majority thinks intrusive snooping is hunky dory, or if there’s bi-partisan congressional condemnation of the leaks. This is less going after terrorists and more going after law-abiding Americans.

This is the same government that thinks it’s fine for the TSA to grope your grandmother and bully your three-year-old disabled daughter to tears. This is the same government that uses the IRS to target its political opponents for harassment and persecution. This is the same government where the most senior law enforcement official thinks nothing of rooting through the emails of journalists and their parents.

Scott Obama SnoopThis is the same government where the NSA says it can be trusted not to engage in illegal spying on Americans, but in the same breath admits to illegal spying on Americans. Go figure.

Do we trust these people? Not on your life.

Tuesday’s Washington Post editorial page is filled with smug rationalizations for the snooping programs, and D.C. insiders like Diane Feinstein are irritating in their self-righteousness condemnation of the leaks.


But pardon me If I don’t jump on the adore Eddie Snowden bandwagon. I have something else in mind: Should Edward Snowden be flogged?

Inconsistent, you say? How can I be in favor of disclosing details about what government snoops are up to and not support the purported whistleblower who leaked the information? I have news: I have no obligation to be consistent, nor am I alone in being conflicted. See here, here, hereScott Obama Dream

I don’t like him because self-appointed messiahs and saviors who adore themselves above all other personages turn me off. On that score, he’s no different than Barack Obama – they are equally untrustworthy. And I especially don’t like them when they’re chickens.

Try sitting through his self-aggrandizing justification for what he did issued from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong and how he’s convinced that he’s now the number one star on the CIA’s hit parade:

It’s all about him and what he decided was in the best interests of the country and how he gets to pick and choose what’s good policy and what’s not. It’s a smug attitude that says I’m going to save you no matter your thoughts on the subject.  

In asserting he could be “rendered by the CIA” or become a target should someone “pay off the Triads,” he flatters himself and exposes his own vanity and naivety toward what he describes as the beneficent governments of Hong Kong, which is under the authority of China, and Russia. The Chinese have taken electronic hacking, snooping, spying and eavesdropping to its highest level as an art form, and they’re not above grabbing someone to squeeze information.

What’s the difference between his attitude of self-indulgence and Sandra Fluke’s during the 2012 Democratic National Convention with her insistent demand for free birth control?

Gallant that he is, Snowden appears to have abandoned his alleged “girlfriend,” a pole dancer (stripper?) who followed him to Hawaii where he lived. Maybe he and the equally narcissistic Fluke should date? They could adore themselves while in each other’s company.

Snowden is a chicken because the instant his name was associated with the leaks, he split. And then after his Hong Kong interview, he split again for parts unknown.  When it comes to standing his ground, a Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. or even Sheralyn Andrews (who?) he is not.

In 1922, Gandhi, leading India’s struggle for independence from Great Britain, went on trial for sedition. Rather than defend himself against the charge, he defiantly admitted his guilt and demanded to be punished:

“I should know the consequences of my acts.  I knew them.  I knew that I was playing with fire.  I ran the risk; and if I am set free, I would still do the same…I am, therefore, here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest penalty.  The only course open to you, Mr. Judge, is, as I am just going to say in my statement, either to resign your post or inflict on me the severest penalty.”Scott Question Authority

If you want to expose injustice or unlawful behavior, stand your ground when those seeking to maintain the status quo come after you.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail , King said that to criticize Birmingham’s Jim Crow and police brutality, he had to do it in Birmingham so he could stare down those responsible even if it meant getting thrown in jail.

Then there’s Sheralyn Andrews, a former employee of the Washington State Department of Corrections who slipped me documents showing official departmental paperwork misconduct in the case of Lakewood, Wash. cop killer Maurice Clemmons. After unsuccessfully trying to get the attention of her superiors, she came to Washington state’s Freedom Foundation, where I was an investigative reporter, to uncover and report on what happened. Because she insisted that she go on the record in order to enhance the credibility of her story she was fired for her trouble.   

If Snowden cared as much as he claimed, he had alternative whistle-blowing options, one of which was to contact a member of Congress with his concerns and data. Certainly, former Texas Rep. Paul, to whose presidential campaign he made multiple contributions, would have been interested. Or when the elder Paul left office, his Kentucky-senator son, Rand Paul, whose track record in favor of limited government, transparency and civil liberties is well documented, would be all ears.

 But he can’t have it both ways – he can’t be the nation’s savior and abandon the nation at the same time. That’s arrogant cowardice. When he surfaces we can thank him for letting us know, but then tie him to a tree because he’s deserving of the lash.