I recently listened to a TedTalk about taking back the security of the internet in which the interviewer described his guest, Edward Snowden, as “a hero, a patriot and a traitor.” Speaking remotely from somewhere in cyberspace, Snowden expressed his disagreement with these labels and described himself simply as “an American and a citizen just like everyone else.”
From when he was first given access to classified information, to when he later leaked it strategically to his chosen journalists, life has changed greatly for Mr. Snowden. Currently, he watches the hands of time tick away in exile somewhere in Russia, while the time limit on his one year passport dwindles. I wonder if he misses the beaches of Hawaii. I’ve never been to Russia, but it sounds like a terrible trade when it comes to living conditions.
Now I’m not sure, but I would assume the large collections of data that he procured and turned over to the media, and probably to Russia in exchange for safe housing would violate operational security. I’m pretty sure in some way it would have placed American life at risk by some degree. On the other hand based upon my training, experience and basic understanding of the Bill of Rights, he had something that needed to be said.
Snowden alleges that the “Freedom Act” or previously the “Patriot Act” allows for the blanket storage of metadata that contains each and every phone call, Amazon book transaction, and porn inquiry (among other things) that you and I have ever made. He is a quirky and acknowledges himself as strange, but it’s hard for me not to agree with him a bit. I’ve made some questionable decisions in my life but I am certainly not a terrorist, and I don’t see how capturing my every movement and interaction, and the habits of every citizen somehow makes all of us safer.
And seriously if we can’t say “bomb” on a plane, how can we openly challenge something called the “Freedom Act” or the “Patriot Act” without sounding like a terrorist? Seems convenient. That is the kind of government overreach that Snowden is fighting. The internet has buzzed with Snowden inspired hash tags for months yet no one has heard from the dude. Up until this point it has been all speculation and “what ifs” surrounding Ed Snowden. That all changed yesterday about noon pacific time when I received a message to follow @Snowden on Twitter.
Yep. Today’s most foremost whistle blower, a man Dick Cheney describes as the “lion who bit off the head of the dog” apparently opened a Twitter account. The account name was previously taken by an imposter but after Snowden apparently contacted Twitter directly they released the account name which was inactive for 3 years to the real @Snowden. When I hit the follow button @Snowden had about 50,000 followers after just a few hours. By the time I woke up this morning he had just over a million followers in less than a days’ time. His first post was “Can you hear me now?”
In case you cared, @Snowden is following one account, the NSA twitter page. I got to admire the guy’s sense of humor. His page has since been limited to pointing out that the intelligence community at Ft. Meade may be looking into how to start some Twitter accounts as well as his interactions with astrophysicist and renowned Atheist, Neil Tyson DeGrasse, oh yeah and their cats. I can’t make this shit up. Since he has everyone’s attention on Twitter let’s see what comes of it. Remember to hit follow @Havokjournal as well, if you haven’t already.