House Speaker John Boehner: NSA Leaker a 'Traitor' … House Speaker John Boehner today called NSA leaker Edward Snowden a "traitor" who put Americans at risk by releasing classified information to the media. "He's a traitor," the highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives said in an extensive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "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." – ABC News
Dominant Social Theme: Our enemies are all around us and we must show them no mercy, especially whistleblowers.
Free-Market Analysis: Sometimes an event comes along that crystallizes an individual's real character and set of beliefs. The Internet itself often galvanizes this by relating the solution directly to the problem. One can see the reality so much more clearly.
In this case, with four words House Speaker John Boehner has surely revealed his core belief system, and it doesn't seem very pretty.
There seems no doubt that scooping up zillions of datapoints of private information about US citizens is at least unconstitutional and certainly immoral, but for politicians like Boehner the only rules that count are the ones that Congress itself makes.
That's why he can call a courageous man, Edward Snowden, a traitor. Here's more:
Boehner endorsed President Obama's characterization of two programs, which allow the NSA to gather information about phone calls made in the U.S. as well as information on foreign suspects collected from major internet companies, as critical to the government's ability to fight terrorism. He said that there are "clear safeguards" built into the programs to protect Americans.
"The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face," Boehner said. "The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there's no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home."
Snowden, a 29-year-old contractor with the National Security Agency, admitted that he was the source of several leaks of top secret NSA documents to the British paper, The Guardian, and the Washington Post. After the Guardian printed its first details of the program in which the government requested and received phone records from Verizon customers, Boehner initially called on Obama to explain to the program to the American people. He now says that he is satisfied with the way the program is being administered.
"There is heavy oversight of this program by the House Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis and the Senate Intelligence Committee," Boehner said. "And that's why I feel comfortable that we can operate this program and protect the privacy rights of our citizens."
Without going into all the problems of the modern US empire, the idea that Boehner is comfortable with NHS hyper-snooping reveals his certainty but not much else. Certainly, it doesn't provide much in the way of assurances to the average individual being snooped upon.
Additionally, Boehner and others like him miss the point. Modern law is not by any means the natural law that the US was founded on. Boehner, for all his carefully cultivated humility, is being extremely arrogant when he assumes that the laws the US Congress makes can stand the scrutiny of time.
As Congressional law-making evolves, it is inevitably lapsing into authoritarianism and worse. Departing from the simplicity of natural law that emphasizes historically recognized wrongdoing, modern Western legislatures opine on almost facet of human existence, and once the opining is codified, the active interference begins.
The Internet Era has only encouraged this trend but, unfortunately, history shows us that after a certain point, the kinds of intrusions that Western governments are involved with inevitably end badly.
Boehner is supposedly the leader of what could be called the libertarian wing of the US sociopolitical system. A number of House Republicans have significant libertarian tendencies, yet Boehner sees no irony in endorsing endless intrusions by Leviathan.
What is just as bad as the actual intrusions (and they are very bad) is Boehner's cack-handed posture regarding their continued operations. He sees nothing wrong with it, apparently, and that bodes ill … for his future and the future of the nation-state he has been elected to help lead.