Edward Snowden finds himself in a tight spot. US federal prosecutors charged him with espionage a week ago and revoked his passport. Snowden is a man without a country, remaining in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone after leaving Hong Kong for Russia. I wish him well. I’ve spent time at that airport in an odd glass-enclosed waiting room for 50 people—seemingly laid down on the tarmac without a foundation—and it wasn’t pretty: one toilet in a “cabinet” and only vending machines for food.
There have been reports that Snowden wanted asylum in Ecuador (and now Venezuela), but he can’t get it without transiting to the safety of another country or an embassy. And that’s impossible now without a political deal, a passport, or a Russian visa, which I found next-to-impossible to get in 2011.
For the larger issues at stake here, look at the short New York Times interview with Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University law professor and privacy expert. Visit YouTube Surveillance. Dr. Solove discusses the public’s response to Snowden’s disclosures about government eavesdropping.
There’s footage of Senator Rand Paul saying most people sitting at their computers oppose the government looking at their data without a search warrant.
The video notes, too, that the ACLU plans to sue the Obama administration over the secret collection of phone logs. Thus, this controversy finds conservatives like Rand Paul in bed with the liberal ACLU.
Unfortunately, there’s little oversight regarding massive surveillance programs, especially since Congress has become ineffectual of late.
In my prior post, I didn’t address the issues raised by the current Pfc. Bradley Manning leak case. (I’ll let you Google earlier, historic cases involving Alger Hiss and Daniel Ellsberg.) For the debate about whether Manning is a saint or a sinner, see The New York Times’ articles on
-June 10, 2013 (“If Americans reject assurances that violating our privacy makes us safer, we can thank Dick Cheney.”)
-June 5 (“Adrian Lamo, who alerted the authorities that Pfc. Bradley Manning was a likely leak source, admitted similarities between his youthful offenses and Private Manning’s actions.”)
-June 4, 2013 (“The Bradley Manning Support Network uses social media to organize protests on behalf of a man they call a First Amendment hero.)
-June 4, 2013 (“During the court-martial .. a prosecutor said Pfc. Bradley Manning put sensitive information into enemy hands, while his defense lawyer said his client had been “naïve.”)