Some call him traitor. Some pity him, but the majority of Americans may feel the same as the Secretary of the States John Kerry does.
The former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who would be facing espionage charges by U.S government, should he set his foot on the U.S., recently had an interview with NBC “Nightly News” . In the interview Snowden defended his action of leaking classified government information.
In response to Snowden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said , “Patriots don’t go to Russia. They don’t seek asylum in Cuba. They don’t seek asylum in Venezuela. They fight their cause here.”
Kerry added, “Edward Snowden is a coward. He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country.”
Snowden, however, argued that “Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.”
Of course, Snowden wants to defend himself, and even if he is one of the worst criminals ever imaginable, it will be his right to make a defensive argument in favor of him, but what centers on Snowden’s case is more fundamental than it appears.
How far can a government be allowed to go in the name of patriotism? When the government has committed wrongs, can an individual’s sanction against it be upheld?
When individuals lie to the authorities, they will have to deal with charges. How sternly do the court documents or other government papers warn you to be truthful or you shall be subject to perjury? Now if the government lies, to whom it is required to be accountable? Who will charge it, since individuals are not vested with power of enforcement?
Snowden’s charges are based on classified information. Unlike individual, government is allowed to classify information, and it is assumed to beneficial to our country. But if an individual claims such, for example, he or she, when subpoenaed, doesn’t want to disclose what he classifies as such, law enforcement will assume you are hiding something wrong.
Then why the same principle cannot be extended to the government?
With all the secrecies, our government or any government for that nature is morally superior to individual so much so that government officials are blatantly demoralizing individuals so often?
Snowden has no chance to have a fair trial under the current legal system and as Kerry’s vehement attack reveals, Snowden violated the current law. His belief is one thing, but he is living in a world where his belief is considered as the basis of treachery. Then why would he want to come and subject himself to what he doesn’t believe right?
Snowden exposed the nudity of our government. But did he lie about our government? Did he defame our government based on lie or deceit? Or simply because he told truth that embarrassed our government, so Kerry is angry?
How fair is it for Kerry to call Snowden coward? Why is he angry? If you did something wrong, there is one thing you must do. Don’t do it. Not lashing out on a person who exposed your wrong.
Let’s face it. Snowden violated the current law and indisputably subject to charges thereupon. But does it necessarily mean Snowden is a coward or a traitor? Does Kerry as the Secretary of the States deserve to call him coward?