The Daily Gamecock

NSA leak poses little risk for public

Snowden’s action actions do not constitute threat

When Edward Snowden spied on the American people on behalf of the National Security Agency, he got a paycheck. When Edward Snowden spied on the National Security Agency on behalf of the American people, he got a warrant for his arrest.

According to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, Snowden is a “traitor” for his disclosure of top secret domestic spying programs implemented by the NSA. Boehner justified this assertion by explaining that, “the disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.”

All of the information that Snowden released to the press is publicly available, and I encourage anyone who enjoyed Orwell’s “1984” to read it, they are very similar in many ways. The leaks contain information on the existence of advanced computer programs that record and monitor our phone calls, emails, and in some cases even GPS location from our phones. They also detail the use of these programs against American citizens, without warrants, without oversight, without limits or boundaries. What these leaks do not include are any sensitive operation details (for example, the names of other people involved in the program) or backdoors, cheats, or other ways to work around the system.

Snowden’s leaks no more pose a risk to National Security than posting an ADT alarm sign in your yard poses a risk to your home security — both announce that there is a defense system in place, but neither gives potential lawbreakers tips on how to get around those systems. If simply knowing that defensive measures are in place is enough to keep those measures from functioning, then the flaw is in the measures themselves, not the knowledge of the existence of those measures.

The potential harms and benefits of a national domestic surveillance system are something that we as a nation need to discuss — civil libertarians have valid concerns about the extent to which Government can snoop around in our lives, but we’d all like to avoid another September 11 if we can. By revealing what he knew about the NSA, Snowden opened the door to this discussion that we as a nation are better off by having.

If anyone should be charged with crimes as a result of this scandal, it’s the NSA executives and others that allowed this system to exist in the first place. This entire surveillance program is in violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy, against unwarranted searches.

The directors of this program are in violation of the highest laws of the land, and Snowden would have been complicit in these illegal actions had he completed his assigned tasks instead of informing the American people. For doing what was right instead of what was easy, Edward Snowden deserves a medal, not a life hiding from the country who’s freedom he was trying to protect.