Edward Snowden committed a crime.
We know it was a crime because it was against the law.
(So there. Nanner nanner nanner.)
What do you do, when you find yourself working for an organization that is recognized by current law but fundamentally in breach of the founding law, the Constitution of your country?
If you're working for a Microsoft or an Oracle (or Google, any more) or a Monsanto, it's a bit easier to put yourself at a distance from the moral implications of what you do than if you work directly for the government. Maybe you can convince yourself that, in extreme interpretations of the Constitution, everyone is in breach.
Rationalization is easy. That's perhaps why the NSA hires contractors to do their dirty work.
Security is an illusion. I've said that many times before, and I am by no means the first to do so.
But that does not justify selling the illusion, nor does it justify deliberately undermining what little real security can be found in this world.
The NSA is doing both of those things, and lots of people are profiting. Huge boondoggles being financed by the loss of individual freedoms.
Someone had to say, as it were, the emperor is deliberately running around in peek-a-boo dresses.
The cynically named "Patriot Act" is a far greater crime than anything Snowden did. I'd go so far as to call it an act of treason, but everyone who says that is still immediately painted in shades of conspiracy theorist by, it seems, just about everyone.
Would I suggest a presidential pardon for Snowden?
Not in the current economical or political climate. Too many people are profiting from that un-Patriot-ic Act. It would be too dangerous to his life.
Putting him on trial would be a possible way of clearing his name, and of fully exposing the boondoggles and treachery being engaged in under the un-Patriot-ic Act -- but only if we could ensure that the trial would be fair, and that his safety could be assured during the trial.
So that would be too dangerous to all parties. Which is why they leave him where he is. For now, it's safest for everyone.
Who are the real villains in this story?
Bush, for the presidential directives that exceeded the Constitution?
Congress, for the Act that gave it the imprimatur of apparent legality?
Obama for failing to veto the continuance of that treacherous Act?
Or the bureaucrats who went ahead and implemented the anti-Constitutional parts?
I lean more towards the latter, myself. They are the ones who should be putting the brakes on, shoving reports of the problems up the line of command to the president and Congress, so that they have reason to tell the lobbyists to crawl back where they came from.
Oh. And the lobbyists, too. Definite treachery in that crowd.
What to do?
Again, it's back to you and me and our day-to-day choices. How much are we willing to pay for the illusions of success, etc.?
When are we going to wake up to the smell of the brew that is poisoning our system, that is causing the very violence that the sellers of security claim they want to protect us from, etc.?
It probably won't be a disaster to have either Trump or Clinton in the Whitehouse next, but you could register your disapproval by voting for a third-party candidate, instead.
Don't bother boycotting and demonstrating against the Monsantos and Microsofts, just quit buying what they sell. And if your bank is too big, try to find a smaller one, even if it's less convenient. Etc.
Make the inconvenient choices away from the big, easy money. It's that big, easy money that is funding both sides of the war that we are caught in the middle of.
It's up to you.