What Happened to Just Quitting?

June 10, 2013 - 3:31 AM
Edward Snowden is not a hero. He's a 29-year-old former security guard at the National Security Agency who ended up knowing way too much about what goes on at the NSA, CIA and probably the MIB (I know I've used that line before, but I still like it).

Snowden, in case you - like me - spent about nine hours on I-95 yesterday driving up and back from Alexandria, Virginia to exit 137 on the Garden State Parkway to attend the graduation party for your favorite niece.

And, instead of listening to WTOP (the all-news station in Washington, DC) until you came into range of WINS (the all-news station in New York City) you listened to the Audible.com version of the new Dan Brown book, "Inferno" you didn't know that Ed Snowden even existed until you got home and your personal Director of Standards and Practices filled you in …

He is the kid who spilled the beans about the NSA scooping up metadata from Verizon customers and the PRISM program.

Snowden is now in Hong Kong, probably awaiting a fairly severe knock on his hotel room door by some Chinese cop who will ask him nicely to put his hands behind his back to provide the story line for next season's "Locked Up Abroad."

There is a serious issue about Edward Snowdens' and Bradley Mannings' (the U.S. soldier who copied and sent miles of secret messages to Wikileaks) claims that they were looking out for you and me.

As a taxpayer, I'm not paying you to look out for my Fourth Amendment rights. I'm paying you to do whatever job you were hired to do and if you find that job too ethically distasteful, then quit.

But keep your mouth shut.

If everyone is allowed to decide for themselves what is legal and/or ethical and what is not, then society - not just American society - will collapse.

I happen to hate bicycle riders who run stop signs. I think that America would be far better off if bicycle riders who run stop signs are rendered incapable of riding a bicycle at all.

Oh. You disagree? Well too, too bad. Under the Snowden/Bradley Rule, I get to decide one thing that I believe should be changed and that's my choice.

You can decide to rat out the Barrista at your local Starbucks who gives the cute girl from down the block a Grande every day when she only pays for a Tall.

Or, you can decide to use your get-out-of-jail-free card by informing on that guy on the fifth floor who is always bragging about his landscapers mostly being from Mars and thus are Little Green Men without Little Green Cards.

If you read or watch the UK Guardian's interview with Snowden the first thing that comes to mind is: Who the hell is in charge of H.R. at the CIA, the NSA and Booz Allen Hamilton, for all of whom Snowden has worked over the past four years?

The NSA is tracking phone calls and Google searches because that's what it's in business to do. The only reason the NSA exists is to track phone calls and Google searches - or some facsimile of those things. The CIA is spying on people because that's what we pay them to do.

It is a little hard to swallow that this kid can be smart enough to go from security guard to super-secret-CIA cover operative and Booz Allen consultant and yet look like the main character in an Edvard Munch painting when he finds out that the NSA and CIA are snooping on people.

I have an advantage over most of you in that I've finally grown into being a curmudgeon. I'm 66-years-old, cranky most of the time, and if the government wants to track who I call and what I download, have at it.

However, if you are 28 and think you have a future in the government that might include a job that requires Senate confirmation, well, you probably should be worried.

Edward Snowden should be extradited from China and tried in the United States. If he is found guilty - and given his public interviews it won't take Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie to get a conviction - he should go to federal prison for a long time.

While he's there the U.S. Government's security services will continue to do what they do.

I hope.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the UK Guardian interview with Snowden and to Edvard Munch. Also a Mullfoto showing the highest tech thing in the immigration operation in Malawi.