12/23/2013 12:34:00 PM Editorial
I was very disappointed to hear the President's reply to a reporter's question about possibly allowing Edward Snowden to return to the U.S. without fear of prosecution for informing fellow American citizens about questionable and possibly unconstitutional federal government activities. President Obama implied that Snowden had chosen the wrong way to bring this issue up for discussion by Congress and the American people. The President is wrong.
There is no way for federal employees or military personnel to bring illegal activity by the federal government or their superiors to the attention of Congress and the American people, especially but not only when it relates to "national security" issues. In most cases, they have been compelled to sign an agreement that makes it a crime to do so, whether it is in the best interests of the People of the United States or not. Anyone who wants to inform the American people about illegal activity by superiors or by the federal government must choose between either spending the rest of their life confined in prison or going into exile in a foreign nation that has no extradition arrangements with the United States.
There is almost no limit to what extent our government will go to prevent American voters from knowing enough about federal government activities to make intelligent voting decisions. A true democracy cannot exist when government activities are kept secret from the nation's citizens and from their elected representatives.
When Congress was attempting to exercise its legitimate role as overseer of intelligence activities by the federal government, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about activities by his agencies, activities that are at best questionable and more probably unconstitutional. They are unquestionably activities about which the committee is entitled to accurate information.
Clapper committed perjury, and he perjured himself regarding an issue over which Congress has authority and which impacts the effective administration of government. He should be removed from office and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Congress attempted to prosecute President Bill Clinton for committing perjury regarding a lie about a personal issue over which Congress had no authority and which had no effect on the effective administration of government, but it hesitates to act over an egregious act of deceit by a government official whose lies undermine the integrity of our entire process of government and the confidence of the American people in their government.
Rather than taking action to protect the integrity of our free democratic process of government and to work toward restoring confidence of the American people in our government, the Obama administration like the Bush administration before it is using specious claims of terrorism dangers if the American people become aware of American government activities.
The federal government keeps a record of every letter Americans write, it keeps a record of every telephone and cell phone call Americans make. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we and our elected officials are discussing whether such record keeping by the federal government should continue. Clapper lied to prevent us from having this discussion. He, not Snowden, should be punished.
Further, our government has developed and has begun using the ability to take pictures of us and our surroundings through our computer and cell phone web cameras. Whether that should be allowed, I believe it should be part of this government intelligence gathering discussion.
We are responsible for our government, so we need to know what it is doing. It has no legitimate right to know what we are doing.