Republicans and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein are already going on record calling for the prosecution of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Patriot Act defenders Republican Rep. Mike Rogers and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the prosecution of the leaker this morning on ABC’s This Week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we’re just about — sorry, we’re just about out of time. I just want a quick answer from each of you on this. We saw that a crimes investigation has been opened. Is it fair to say that both of you believe that this investigation should be pursued and the source, if found, should be prosecuted?
ROGERS: I absolutely believe that someone did not have authorization to release this information. And why that’s so important, George, is because they didn’t have all of the information. I know your reported that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he’s got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn’t have a clue how this thing works. Nether did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous.
I argue that there’s other methods. He could come to the committees, if they had concern. We have IGs that they can go to in a classified way if they have concern. Taking a very sensitive classified program that targets foreign person on foreign lands, and putting just enough out there to be dangerous, is dangerous to us, it’s dangerous to our national security and it violates the oath of which that person took. I absolutely think they should be prosecuted.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You too, Senator Feinstein?
FEINSTEIN: I do.
On Fox News, Republican Rep. Peter King called for the prosecution of the NSA leaker, “These are matters that can’t be made public on a day to day basis. That’s why the leaking of this information is really dangerous to our country, and I hope whoever did it is found out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
All of this puts President Obama in a difficult position, because it seems that Glenn Greenwald has found a willing martyr for his government is out to get us all tin foil hat paranoia in Edward Snowden. Greenwald referred to NSA leak as, “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” It isn’t. This may not even be the most significant political leak of the last year. I would argue Romney’s 47% comments might have changed the course of a country. It is almost guaranteed that the NSA leak will have no impact on policy.
Snowden seems to be in full firebagger martyr mode, “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions. I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
I am not even sure that Snowden is a whistleblower. By definition, whistleblowing is, “The disclosure by a person, usually an employee in a government agency or private enterprise, to the public or to those in authority, of mismanagement, corruption, illegality, or some other wrongdoing.”
It can be argued that what the NSA is doing is unethical, but it isn’t corrupt, illegal, or wrong. At least, not according to all three branches of the United States government.
Ideally, President Obama would be able to tell Greenwald and hopeful martyr Snowden that there really isn’t anything here, so go get bent. Because there really is nothing here that those of us who hate the Patriot Act haven’t been talking about for the last 12 years. The best thing to come of this dustup is that it has forced people to talk about the Patriot Act again. However, Congress is never going to get rid of the Patriot Act, so this whole thing is destined to go nowhere.
Greenwald managed to expose a 6 year old program that everybody in DC knew existed, so congrats for that I guess. Snowden isn’t a whistleblower, but I don’t think his crime is a big deal either. He should lose any security clearances that he has, and be sent away to begin his new exciting career at the local Wal-Mart.
My biggest concern is that the circus that a prosecution of Snowden would create would overshadow discussion of the Patriot Act, and why we need to get rid of it.
THe problem is that with both Democrats and Republicans screaming for prosecution, President Obama may face a bigger scandal if he doesn’t prosecute.
Making Edward Snowden a martyr isn’t going to get the Patriot Act repealed. It is just going to give Glenn Greenwald and his fellow firebaggers another persecution orgasm. It is a shame that Snowden is going to probably end up in prison, and sadly, the Patriot Act will remain.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association