I personally have a hard time with people who leak secrets.
I find that for the most part, there is almost never an altruistic motive for doing so.
So, off the bat, I have concerns with the recent disclosure of the NSA program. It does not help that I think there is a lot of misinformation out there on what this program is or isn’t. Since the American people are not read into it, it is hard to know what the ground truth is. The ubiquitous nature of electronic communications and the means of travel from Point A to Point B make it difficult to regulate. There are a tremendous amount of regulations involved in intelligence collection, and by its very nature, because of the need to protect sources and methods, not everyone knows about everything.
That said, the breadth and scope of the program—according to media—is alarming. It is one thing to target a U.S. person for collection, but entirely another to have a blanket dragnet encompassing millions of people who have no connection to security threats. To buy into the Administration’s position and accept that this program is not being abused, we have to have faith that the government will, as a fair arbiter, engage as an honest broker in the pure interests of security. Of course, when you have an Administration that has been exposed to be acting as a very unfair arbiter, then there is little to no trust. There has been a myriad of real—no shit—scandals over the last month or so (and this excludes the myriad of scandals from the last term, like Fast & Furious), and all of them are serious and revolve around two things: 1) a lack of trust and honesty from the Administration and 2) a rampant abuse of power.
From Benghazi, Department of Justice targeting the Media, IRS intimidation, HHS extortion, EPA FOIA bias, Department of Energy loans to political contributors, to this NSA wiretapping—all of these amount to tremendous abuses of power and corruption. Most importantly, they undermine any trust a society can have in a Government that is supposed to be of, for and by the People.
- Benghazi was about corrupting the information cycle to protect an Administration running for reelection.
- DoJ/Media was a corrupted abuse of power to intimidate the fourth pillar to protect the Administration from public scrutiny.
- IRS was a corrupted policy to intimidate political opposition, in order to suppress their ability to assemble and vote.
- HHS extortion is a corruption in a regulatory body intimidating funds from companies it is suppose to regulate.
- EPA/FOIA was a corrupted policy to financially discourage and suppress freedom of information to political opponents.
- DoE loans to political contributors was flat out financial corruption.
Which brings us to the NSA wiretapping program: I don’t know. Two points don’t make a trend, but six certainly do. Were they abusing the system? I don’t know, but there is a clear indication that the system is ripe for abuse from an Administration that has clearly shown a propensity to abuse the system.
So, is Snowden a traitor for leaking this information? Yes. Intelligence professionals take an oath to protect the information they are privy to and he broke it. Does this hurt the ability of the U.S. to collect intelligence against its enemies? Absolutely. So the question is, right now, should he have broken his oath, exposing this program, and does that excuse Snowden from his actions? I don’t know, but maybe we can’t answer this question till we answer this one: should we trust this Administration—let alone any other—with this level of power and insight into your private life?
Ultimately, we come full circle in how we should view and consider our government. The tenant of trust is paramount at this point. The clichés of ‘We get the government we deserve’ and ‘Elections have consequences’ don’t sound so cliché right now. More importantly, the importance a character in our elected officials suddenly becomes ever so clear. We have been derided, insulted, demeaned and marginalized by the left because of the sincere character questions we had/have for Obama. Cocaine and marijuana use for any other Presidential candidate really mattered (remember not inhaling?) and would have been a near fatal issue because respect for law and—more importantly—the character to use illegal drugs would have cast serious doubt on the candidate.
Of course there is also the character issue of leadership. Yes, leadership is a character issue. I’ve learned through life that there are three P’s to “leadership”: (P)olicing, which is what Supervisors do. (P)roduction, which is what Managers do. And (P)otential, which is what Leaders develop and foster. Not all Supervisors or Managers are leaders, but leaders certainly have all of these traits. So when we look at a Presidential candidate who has never been an executive, who has never been individually accountable for the success or failures of a team of individuals that he is responsible for, it begs the question—why not? How has this person managed to go through life and never be in a leadership position? How could they possibly be prepared to be the Executive of the U.S., yet have never been the executive of anything else?
How about the character issue of fairness? The ability to foster and maintain an environment that does not threaten those different from yourself. Hell, we have Constitutional Amendments on this, yet we were told repeatedly by a lapdog media that we were to overlook an overwhelming bias. Obama is suppose to be the President of United States, not the Liberals in the U.S., so when we see him come out and specifically target a media outlet critical of his actions, we should pause. When he calls on his follows to crush their political enemies, when he demeans a massive, grassroots movement with serious and legitimate concerns about his policies. Obama has demonstrated, repeatedly, that he is not interested in Governance, only in Power.
To me, however, the most critical character issue is honesty, and frankly, Obama’s honesty came into question early on. Unfortunately, he was never challenged to explain his inconsistencies to the American people, and we never demanded it enough to force him. His many contradictions to what he was saying while campaigning versus what he had said while in the Senate (State or U.S.), what he had written (or had claimed to write), and what he had done while in office—any office. Obama has been pretty much the only politician I’ve ever seen who has been allowed to get away with, ‘it is what I say now’ versus ‘what I have said or done before’ that matters.
But this isn’t limited to Obama. Congress has either endorsed or failed to provide oversight to an Executive clearly out of control. Likewise, the appointment of activist judges has resulted in the ideological approval/disapproval of policies and legislation that fly in the face of the Founding documents and the American spirit. The issue of character applies to all levels of government. Our government was designed to balance itself through the checks and balances of the branches, yet we’ve seen through the years the dismantling of these balances through the distortion of powers in the branches, most notably in the power of the Executive. There has been some effort to reassert balance, 2010 being the greatest example of this, and 2014 will likely follow suit, but this is only possible because the People still have a vote. Unfortunately, the judiciary—the last line of defense and arguably the ultimate arbiter of impartiality—is distorted and manipulated by partisan ideologues masquerading as justices (9th Circus, here’s looking at you), one loses hope. 2014 may be the last chance we get to stop an out of control Administration was attempting to stack the judicial bench with sycophants who worship at the alter of Obama, and not the Constitution.
The character of the situation, and of the Administration, is severely in question right now. The question of Governance vs. Power is beginning to take root. Many of us have, for some time now, cried foul at the rampant abuses and power-grabs of an Administration bent on ridding itself of political enemies instead of governing the populace. Unfortunately, the deception has allowed the Administration to continue, but there is a growing disquiet in America—a buyer’s remorse—that is beginning to finally question who the doppelganger in the White House really is. Perhaps all is not lost…