The short-order cook in the New England coffee shop asked the tourist whether he wanted one egg or two. “Just one, thank you,” came the reply. The waitress clearly heard the cook mutter, “That’s the trouble with this country. Too damned many one-egg men running around.”
So, what do you mean, you “haven’t decided if Edward Snowden is a hero or a traitor”? Are you a man or a mouse? Squeak up!
If Edward Snowden were to go to charm school, boot camp and a mountain retreat of any religion, and really apply himself, he might someday become a sleazebag.
The currency he stole to buy his 15 minutes of fame was high-as-it-gets American secrets, which, as a National Security Agency contractor, he’d taken an oath not to betray. Ladies and gentlemen can continue to argue whether or not we admire the work of the NSA. That’s not the argument. Snowden swore not to betray those secrets. He nonetheless did so. Is this the most damaging betrayal of American security secrets in history? We go back to that North Carolina school teacher who went to the Smoky Mountains and applied for a job. “Do you believe the earth is round?” asked the principal. “Personally I believe it is,” replied the applicant. “But I can teach either way.”
How much damage did Soviet spy and top-ranking American diplomat Alger Hiss really do to America and the free world after World War II? Stalin and the Soviets were destined to get Poland and Eastern Europe after Germany’s collapse anyhow. And atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg didn’t reveal to Moscow any atomic secrets they either didn’t already have or would have gotten elsewhere within weeks or months of their treasonous activities. And few would blame Daniel Ellsberg for America’s military debacle in Vietnam despite his outing of the “Pentagon Papers.”
The damage Snowden has done to America is still ongoing and immeasurable. It’s doubtful the terrorists learned anything they didn’t already know about our super-snoop capabilities. Oddly enough, the terrorists seem obligingly stupid in forgetting what they know and making mistakes that lead to their downfall. This in no way exonerates Snowden. A wise man once wrote, “The flea, though it doesn’t kill, does as much damage as it can arrange to do.” Snowden’s damage to America amounts to more than a flea bite.
Certainly Snowden handed those who want to kill us a handy reminder of American capabilities. If they didn’t know already, they surely know now how America turns the spotlights, searchlights and scorch-lights on terrorist activities.
There are theories that manage to survive their own debunking. One example: Theoretically, the aerodynamics experts tell us, the bumblebee is unable to fly. His filament-like little wings are too tiny to support his bulbous body. However, the bumblebee never hears that theory and flits merrily from blossom to blossom bringing much sweetness into the world.
Another theory that can no longer get out of bed in the morning is what security experts call “The algebra of secret-keeping.” “If one person knows a secret,” the theory goes, “the chances of it remaining secret are high. They remain high if two or even three people know the secret. Beyond that, however, the chances of the secret remaining secret sink quickly to below dismal!”
Really? There were thousands of patriotic Americans and Britons who worked daily harvesting information from the German and Japanese military codes we’d broken. Thousands on our side knew. Thank God, no Snowden appeared. Hitler would have given up his ability to yell if he’d known whether the D-Day invasion would hit Normandy, the Pas-de-Calais or someplace else on the Atlantic Wall. Nobody squealed. Scientist Robert Oppenheimer and Gen. Leslie Groves didn’t work the Los Alamos lab alone. Thousands kept their mouths shut so that hundreds of millions – including the enemy – were surprised by the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
All you need is one traitor and 30 seconds of treason and all those years of technological accomplishment and faithful disciplined secrecy disappear like a cobweb under a blowtorch. And what nobody likes to say or even think about is, America’s national character erosion under poor leadership leads to that kind of treason no longer seeming evil. It becomes cool, even praiseworthy. From the contempt American school children used to hold for traitor Benedict Arnold, the attitude sinks all the way down to, “Hey, I got some secrets and I’m willing to sell America out. Where are the buyers and what am I bid?” (Who was the Navy traitor early in America’s decline whose wife fired up a steam iron and pressed the big bills handed over by the agent from the Soviet Embassy?)
Snowden a hero? For you, perhaps. For me, he’s nothing but a mouse trying to become a rat through bodybuilding. And he flees to Communist China to preserve his own freedom! Cousin Guerney says that’s like going to hell for hot tamales.