Via Zero Hedge, Republican former VP Dick Cheney comes out against Edward Snowden:
I’m interested by several aspects of his remarks.
First, there is what Cheney didn’t say: Cheney apparently did not call Snowden a liar. I’m not sure if that puts Cheney at odds with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who said last week:
“[Snowden] was lying…He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he’s even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
Rogers’ language is a bit slippery: He plants the word “lying” but doesn’t indicate that Snowden was lying about the most crucial revelations, namely, the extent of NSA surveillance of people’s phone records and Internet activities. Between that and Cheney’s apparent silence on the same, I will take the NSA surveillance revelations as ‘confirmed’.
Rogers and Cheney do both call Snowden a “traitor” and suggest that he is a front for someone else; perhaps China. They are not the first to wonder if he’s a front. I figured that Snowden could be acting for an NSA higher-up (who opposes the surveillance programs); but I never totally ruled out (and still don’t) that Snowden could be acting for China. It struck me as a bit odd, from the beginning, that Snowden is holed up with a foreign power which delights in the embarrassment to the U.S. here, and as well, benefits from it.
Anyway, Cheney goes on to strongly defend the NSA surveillance; he suggests it would have prevented the 9-11 attacks, and takes a ‘trust us’ type of stance.
I disagree with Mr. Cheney. I do so respectfully; he’s a great American, and there are two sides to every story. I come down on the Rand Paul / civil liberties side of this one. The current extent of surveillance goes well beyond anything I ever defended the Bush-Cheney administration doing.
And the Obama administration’s other scandals – for example, their IRS / Tea Party scandal, or their multiple spy-on-the-media scandals, or multiple occasions when they happily manipulated classified info for political gain, and/or lied to the American people – have, by now, proven that they (the Obama administration) are profoundly unworthy of trust.
UPDATE – Some tidbits from the last several days:
- Snowden was a prolific online commentor. (Heh)
- Thousands of firms trade confidential data with the U.S. government. Did you know that Internet companies answers tens of thousands of government requests per year?
- More video of the Obama administration contradicting itself on surveillance and civil liberties; this time, Joe Biden of 2006 attacking the Bush programs which were, again, less than what Obama has now.
UPDATE: NSA surveillance has provoked disagreement among the scholars at Cato. Here is a lengthy piece from Julian Sanchez, discussing many legal details from a viewpoint I agree with.