After Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s secret mass surveillance scheme to the American people and the world, there have been those who consider what he did to be treasonous rather than patriotic. That adverse reaction to what Snowden did is a perfect example of how the national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto America’s governmental system after World War II has warped and perverted the values and stultified the consciences of the American people.
Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the NSA’s super-secret phone collection program was illegal — that is, that it violated the Constitution of the United States, which is the higher law that governs the actions of the federal government.
So, let’s see if I have this clear: If an employee within the national-security branch of the federal government discloses an illegal scheme on the part of the military, the CIA, or the NSA, he is to be considered a “bad guy” — i.e., a person who hates his country — a traitor, maybe even an anti-American spy.
Yep. That’s pretty much it. Despite the appellate court’s ruling, the Justice Department has no intention of dismissing the criminal indictment against Snowden. By disclosing the scheme, he broke the law, the Justice Department prosecutors maintain, and it doesn’t matter how illegal the scheme was that he disclosed.
Do you see something wrong with that picture, at least insofar as morals and values are concerned?
Let’s assume that during the CIA’s MKULTRA experiments on unsuspecting Americans, a CIA employee had a crisis of conscience over what the drug experiments were doing to unsuspecting Americans. Let’s say that the CIA agent goes to the American citizen and tells him about what the CIA is doing to him.
That CIA agent goes to jail. He’s considered a bad person — a traitor. By telling the American citizen what the CIA was doing to him with drugs, he has violated the law of the national-security state. He’s jeopardized “national security.” He needs to be punished.
In fact, as the fascinating book A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments by H.P. Albarelli Jr. details, that’s pretty much what happened to national-security state biochemist Frank Olson, who had a crisis of conscience over the CIA’s drug experiments and disclosed them to unauthorized people. Given his act of “disloyalty” and the threat to “national security” Olson posed, they punished him, only not with a criminal prosecution but with an execution.