Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower, candidly admits he “believed in [Barack] Obama’s promises.”
That’s why he waited until after his re-election to reveal the extent of NSA surveillance on the American people – a nightmarish Big Brother snooping campaign that has come as a shock to the press and the citizenry.
“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama,” Snowden told the Guardian. “I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”
It’s further evidence you can, as Abraham Lincoln and P.T. Barnum surmised, fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time.
Snowden sounds like a smart, young guy. But did he really believe Obama was going to dismantle the surveillance state upon re-election? Did Obama give any hint or suggestion he would do such a thing? In fact, did Obama not give every indication he was intent on building a bigger and better surveillance state, even tying it into his national health-care system?
Snowden, like many of us, watched Obama struggle for words Friday, especially without a teleprompter, to justify the massive government snooping campaign that puts George Orwell’s Big Brother to shame.
“My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself,” Snowden said. “He was trying to defend the unjustifiable, and he knew it.”
That’s for certain.
It’s worth watching that performance by Obama, again [Part 1 below, Parts 2 and 3 at end of column].
Too many focused only on his inability to even begin his remarks without having his written statement before him. But I suggest watching the body language and the nervous laughter and the rapid eye movements after he finally was handed his notes. It's eerie.
But is it reasonable for anyone to be surprised at Obama's defense of the indefensible?
After all, this is a leader who clearly used the Internal Revenue Service to go after his political adversaries, who used his Justice Department to keep tabs on the phone records of at least two major news agencies, who lied straight-faced about Benghazi and who has yet to express any regrets about sending weapons to the drug cartels in a plot to disarm the American people in the Fast and Furious scandal.
I don't know whether Snowden is a hero or villain, but there's little question he has performed a public service for informing the American people about the nation's drift toward police-state authoritarianism. Therefore, I have a suggestion for Congress: Bring Snowden in from the cold.
Congress should provide Snowden with immunity from prosecution for any crimes he may have committed. He should be protected and brought back to the United States as a source in an investigation designed to dismantle the surveillance state, which represents a crime against the Constitution.
Furthermore, Congress should use the resources of the surveillance state to provide all the answers it needs as to any and all official misfeasance in the IRS investigation, the Benghazi investigation, the Fast and Furious investigation and a sweeping probe into how this monstrous snooping infrastructure was built and how it has been abused.
Congress can do all that.
It has complete oversight authority over the NSA. It is constitutionally, without a doubt, the most powerful branch of government. The American people are crying out for answers as to what government is doing. Congress has a mandate to provide the truth – to provide those answers.
It's a wonderful opportunity to perform a vital national service to preserve the Constitution and be accountable to the people.