The White House petition to pardon Edward Snowden will probably reach the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to respond by tomorrow. It's at 97,791 right now and has been growing at the rate of 100 signatures every 10 minutes for the last hour. It will be at the titled 98,000 within a a few minutes of me posting this.
I'm not going to go though the pros and cons of whether Snowden is a traitor or a hero as that's been done everywhere. Whatever you think about Snowden, he certainly fomented a "discussion" about national security.
Snowden embarrassed the United States intelligence establishment. They want revenge more than justice, that's been clear in the statements of most Congress critters, the punditocracy and in how the media is covering this story. I figure the White House response to the petition will use platitudes about law and order, sprinkle in stuff about national security, ice the statement with a bunch of what not, and finish up with stating there will be no pardon for Edward Snowden.
I'm not sure how I think of what Snowden did. I do understand why he left the U.S.A. He'd be kept in a closet of a cell 23/7 and dehumanized while in U.S. custody. I can understand wanting to put off that type of tortuous experience as long as possible. And, to think, had Edward Snowden not released those Top Secret documents, no one would be the wiser. As it is most people think confirmation of the extent of the surveillance is a big snoozer. It's nothing to worry about. We haven't done anything wrong. We have nothing to hide. Right?
It should be a two way street on this data collection. It seems that the government has no problem with using it to prove criminal behavior, but they are loath to sift through it to clear criminality.
I'm thankful that Snowden confirmed we live in a surveillance state of an authoritarian government. I don't know if there will be any changes made to it, but I'm thankful to know that I wasn't imagining anything. It's real.
When I was a kid I remember teachers stating with total naivete that the United States had no political prisoners. That habeus corpus prevents the government from detaining people indefinitely without bringing charges. I also remember something about being able to face your accuser and to know the substance of what is you are charged with doing. The one lesson I remember hearing with pride was that we are a free society. That it was people who lived behind the "iron curtain" who had to fear their government. Some years later I realized we had political prisoners then. Unfortunately, we have even more of them today. We have people detained for over 10 years without charges. We have people facing charges and evidence so secret they can't be in the room while the court discusses it. Now we know we are under constant and intrusive surveillance. Oh, but don't worry, the government will only look at it if they want to use it against you. If you need it to clear you of something, you're SOL.