A betrayal of trust

Government mired in scandals is quickly losing credibility

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He may have broken a law in exposing the federal government’s spying on us. And whether he did the right thing is a matter of robust debate.

But whatever you think of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, we seriously doubt he’s a traitor as some seem to think, such as House Speaker John Boehner. It occurs to us that the term “traitor” connotes an intent not just to betray but to do harm by it.

There’s no evidence that’s the case here. In fact, everything appears to point to an intent to help the country, by alerting the citizenry that we’re being spied on by our government. The aim, arguably, would be to restore the kind of liberty enshrined in both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

That said, Edward Snowden really isn’t the issue. It’s us – and our relationship, as a supposedly self-governing people, to our elected government.

That relationship certainly appears to have changed drastically, horribly, in just the past few weeks, with the revelations of Department of Justice spying on journalists, IRS harassment of conservatives and now the NSA spying on millions of Americans’ phone and Internet records.

Maybe an administration that has shown itself to be duplicitous and untrustworthy creates whistleblowers of its own accord.

Frankly, at this point we wish there were more of them. Perhaps all government workers should be issued whistles.

Who’s doing the betraying here, anyway? Isn’t it this government that’s betraying our trust? Besides all the ongoing scandals – which include the Fast and Furious gun-running debacle and the Benghazi disaster, both of which got Americans killed – there’s the little matter of your federal government partying on your dollar as you scrape by to survive.

Remember “GSA Man” – the General Services Administration official who became the poster child for government waste with his unrepentant grin in a beverage-adorned Las Vegas tub at a lavish conference in 2010? A fresher scandal is now enveloping the IRS, which admits to having put on a $4.1 million conference in Anaheim, Calif. – which featured a now infamous and very amateurish video Star Trek spoof. Like GSA Man’s tub photo, the Star Trek video has instantly become an undying symbol of the in-your-face waste of your money by government bureaucrats.

You want to talk about a betrayal of trust? Let’s have that discussion!

This government is hardly in any position to lament someone else’s betrayal of trust.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has emerged as a beacon of civil liberties in this troubling time. We heartily support Sen. Paul’s effort to mobilize as many as 10 million Americans to protest the government’s spying on us. He plans a class-action lawsuit, as well as legislation enforcing our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable and warrantless searches.

Paul calls the domestic spying “an astounding assault on the Constitution.” He’s right. And, noting that all that spying didn’t prevent the Boston Marathon bombing, he says burying national security officials in a billion calls a day, not to mention emails and Internet records, is “just bad police work.”

Moreover, while Paul says “this much power is too much power to give any government,” he reminds us that all that intelligence on us is currently in the hands of “a government that appears to target people based on their political beliefs. I don’t want my phone records being given to an administration that I can’t trust.”

Paul sounds very much like a former Senate colleague of his who, in the mid-2000s, bitterly decried domestic spying under President George W. Bush, saying his administration acted like “violating civil liberties is a way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no shortcuts to protecting America.”

That senator was Barack Obama – who, back then, warned against “undermining our Constitution and our freedom.”

Obama also once said:

• “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

• “No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens.”

• “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.”

• “We need to find a way forward to make sure that we can stop terrorists while protecting the privacy and liberty of innocent Americans.”

Congratulations, Mr. President. After the Boston bombing and the NSA scandal, we can truthfully say you’ve done neither.

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Jon Lester
2363
Points
Jon Lester 06/13/13 - 02:00 am
11
1
Tell you what, ACES,

if you'll stay on the side of liberty, and against statism, regardless of which half of our fascist duopoly is nominally in control, I will work with you.

Riverman1
86877
Points
Riverman1 06/13/13 - 04:29 am
6
8
Snowden

Eric Snowden broke his solemn oath by divulging intelligence secrets. Al Qaeda will adapt their techniques after seeing the information on phone call surveillance. That will result in more Americans being killed. Snowden could have voiced his complaints through secret channels such as the IG or contacted Congressional oversight people instead of going public in a foreign newspaper. Of course doing the right thing wouldn't give him the notoriety that he craves.

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 05:55 am
10
1
A Great Editorial

My trust of the Government seems to expand with each new revelation, the latest being the State Department ran by Ms. Clinton. Appears an Ambassador to Brussels likes to dip his oil stick in other Engines so to speak. Ms. Clinton's own security detail is also involved in illicit Drugs and sex, all that is missing is the Rock and Roll! I have never in my 64 years seen so many scandals at one time. Even if 1/2 of them are true it still beats Bush by a mile! I'll say it for those on the left so I ,hopefully, won't have to hear it a million times more, IT IS BUSH'S FAULT, and BUSH DID WORSE.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/13/13 - 06:48 am
1
0
I, personally
Unpublished

wouldn't know who to trust in an obama gubmint. Who would you tell? i.r.s., d.o.j., congress, supreme court, dept. of homeland security, harry reid, nancy pelosi, charlie rangel, clyburn, franken, boxer or mccaskill?

nofanofobama
6856
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nofanofobama 06/13/13 - 06:56 am
13
1
why is it a big deal that

why is it a big deal that this guy didnt live up his pledge to uphold the constitution..just look at the current administration..and their cherry picking of what laws to enforce...unfortunantly its the adminstration that set the morals for many in the country...if its ok to lie ..well its ok to lie...thats what we get from a population that has no moral compass of their own and just follow their elected leaders...this kid has no respect for the laws because we have a adminstration with NO respect for the laws...as far as the damaged...i dont know what he revealed ...a broad out line or specfic details..those on the left and right that call him a traitor also talk of his lack of intelligence so what could he give them..also what level of security did he have. and we had testimony from both sides as to the effectiveness of this program..so i have mixed feeling but he's just a sympton of the current enviroment in DC...a total lack of trust is the best that our leaders merit...

robaroo
796
Points
robaroo 06/13/13 - 07:04 am
8
1
Agree with ACES

The Editorial Staff hit the nail on the head with this one.

I'm sure spying on US citizens does prevent some terrorism. But the price is too much to pay. This spying is exactly what the framers of the Constitution were afraid of.

For now, we are told the NSA is only looking at potential foreign terrorists. But the spying is already established. What will be the next target? Tea Party activists? Reporters who leak embarrassing information? Maybe even all citizens who don't support the political party currently in power?

Bodhisattva
6466
Points
Bodhisattva 06/13/13 - 07:08 am
1
9
"The phony spy scandal"
Unpublished

"Yet the president is on sound legal ground when he argues that the NSA doesn't need a court warrant if the eavesdropping is to detect a national security threat, such as the 9-11 attacks, as opposed to monitoring a terrorist suspect to collect evidence to be used at trial."

Bodhisattva
6466
Points
Bodhisattva 06/13/13 - 07:10 am
1
13
" Blind, partisan opposition
Unpublished

" Blind, partisan opposition where the president is condemned no matter what he does is neither loyal, constructive nor helpful. It is un-American and undermines the credibility of the critics more than it does the president."

ymnbde
10016
Points
ymnbde 06/13/13 - 07:15 am
11
1
blind partisan opposition

" Blind, partisan opposition where the president is [defended] no matter what he does is neither loyal, constructive nor helpful. It is un-American and undermines the credibility of the critics more than it does the president."

deestafford
28660
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deestafford 06/13/13 - 07:30 am
7
1
I agree with the thrust of the editorial; however,

I disagree with its thrust as to Snowden. He has done damage to our intelligence gathering capabilities. The enemy is already changing its communication techniques. He violated his oath and there were ways which he could have taken his concerns to people who would have listened and taken action without him being harmed. I think there is more to come out on Snowden in that he is not the squeaky clean individual many think him to be.

We have a major problem in the country with governmental agencies running amok. There are so many that Congress can't keep up with what they are doing and this is Congress' fault and it started decades and decades ago going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt. An example is how the EPA slip a phrase into a recent regulation about microwaves that increased the cost of carbon emissions up by almost 30%. What that means is now when the government says "If we don't reduce carbon emission in automobiles it's going to cost 'x' billions of dollars" with "x" being a cost 30% higher than it was a few months ago. This pads the cost of some action they won't to force on the people.

There is no way we need all those people in all those big buildings in DC. Congress needs to take back control from the agencies in order to protect the people from the government.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/13/13 - 07:31 am
11
3
Thank you ymbde. People such
Unpublished

Thank you ymbde. People such as Bodhisattva don't ever seem to see both sides of that coin. The are unable to condemn this president no matter what he does....or fails to do.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 06/13/13 - 07:43 am
2
11
takes one to know one....

So President Obama is a hypocrite for once having criticized Bush's domestic spying program? Simple question: Did ACES agree with then Senator Obama, or instead defend the Bush program? Ooops, dumb question.

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 07:58 am
7
1
Every time I think about

Every time I think about Government running something I remember Al Gore and ethanol. Al Gore cast the deciding vote for adding ethanol to gas! Then about 10 years later Gore admits it was all mistake. The ethanol program cost tax payers billions of dollars and ruined billions of dollars worth of small gasoline engines used for lawn mowers and the like. Well excuse the h@ll out of me if I don't trust these idiots ! I really do need to apologize to the idiots of the world, they aren't quite that dumb. ACES would not let me print what I really think of these jerks, again with apologize to jerks!

seenitB4
90765
Points
seenitB4 06/13/13 - 07:59 am
3
3
I agree with Riverman & deestafford

Snowden could have voiced his complaints through secret channels such as the IG or contacted Congressional oversight people instead of going public in a foreign newspaper

Yeh...he told our enemies just what to do to avoid getting caught....not smart in my book.

seenitB4
90765
Points
seenitB4 06/13/13 - 08:04 am
4
0
I don't like the spying but

The social media like google---facebook & even ac has more info on us than we can even imagine...I know this because I get ads for drugs--meds--anything & everything & guess what....it matches just what I have posted about...or emailed.

Try it...just google a vacation spot & watch the ads you will get.....

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 08:04 am
7
1
I also remember the great

I also remember the great "cash for clunkers" program the completely ruined the used car market . For years, cost the tax payers billions and lined the pockets of unions and automakers

ymnbde
10016
Points
ymnbde 06/13/13 - 08:08 am
11
2
the party of O is infested with worshippers

of O... true believers
eel and bod, exactly where is your boundary?
did the thrill not stop at your leg?
how long can you, or anyone, continue to defend this government?
this is not W's domestic spying program, this is O's
and he is not trustworthy
he will use this information for political gain
he will use this information to hurt honest American citizens
if they oppose his dishonesty
once you've used the IRS to steal an election
there's no way to regain trust, and no defense
except by a true believer

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 08:09 am
6
1
Them let's remember the great

Them let's remember the great green energy programs with names like Fisket motors , Solendra , A123, Ener1, and many many more that just cost tax payers billions upon billions of dollars!

americafirst
966
Points
americafirst 06/13/13 - 08:11 am
6
4
Glorifying the conduct of

Glorifying the conduct of Snowden and Bradley Manning only serves to encourage more treason. Every employee of the gov't and its intelligence agencies cannot decide on their own what classified information should and should not be disclosed publically.And we can't determine if the "whistle-blower" was justified or not by ex post facto opinions of the nature of the information leaked. Now Snowden is exposing that we also spied on the Chinese. How is release of this information in our national interest? You can sugar coat it all you want but a traitor is a traitor.

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 08:12 am
7
1
IG? The IRS IG knew about

IG? The IRS IG knew about the IRS scandals a year ago and did NOTHING!!!!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/13/13 - 08:14 am
8
4
I don't know EEL....why don't
Unpublished

I don't know EEL....why don't you give us a link where the ACES defended domestic spying.......oops, dumb question....liberals just attack, they rarely back up their baseless accusations.

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 08:16 am
5
1
The investigation into the

The investigation into the State Department Hopker Gate was quashed by political operatives ! I am sure Snowden reporting to the IG would have been effective especially since Clapper had just lied to Congress about these programs!

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 06/13/13 - 08:16 am
7
2
Dear House Speaker John Boehner,

You sir, are pulling an obama. Blaming others for your own fauts in order to cloud issues. I hate to burst your bubble, but that is an imature child's game and most of us can see right through you. You sir, along with the administration you work for, are the real traitors to the American people. Please read the 4th ammendment before spouting off again.

Explain one thing; If you're NOT listening to our phone calls as you claim, how can you tell the difference between two terrorists planning an attack, and a 10 year old calling his Grandfather to chat once a week? Do you really think we Americans are that stupid?

carcraft
27008
Points
carcraft 06/13/13 - 08:20 am
9
2
Again the left defends the

Again the left defends the extreme limits this administration has gone by pointing to Bush. Bush's spying was limited to incoming calls !

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/13/13 - 08:24 am
10
3
" Do you really think we
Unpublished

" Do you really think we Americans are that stupid?"
Mr. Ross, we must be we reelected a lying, racist, America hating Marxist/communist as president.

Bodhisattva
6466
Points
Bodhisattva 06/13/13 - 08:41 am
3
11
Why are they in quotes?
Unpublished

They are the editors own words when these same issues popped up under the previous administration. Hmmm. Why don't the grumblers ask the editors to defend their defense of these tactics and their inability to condemn Republican administrations no matter what they do.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/13/13 - 08:48 am
8
2
Bod....you DO know the
Unpublished

Bod....you DO know the difference between monitoring calls to foreign countries that are hostile to the US, and monitoring every single call from every single US citizen? I among others here have condemned the the over reach of the patriot act MANY times, but unless I have missed it, I have not seen you condemn Obama for ANYTHING. Nor have I seen you back up any of your baseless accusations when asked to do so.

scoopdedoop64
2425
Points
scoopdedoop64 06/13/13 - 08:56 am
7
1
A Better Way

I agree with this letter. I also think Snowden did us a favor by letting us know what was going on. BUT Snowden could have done this a better way by simply going to the congress rather than running off to Hong Kong and throwing all this info out there to our enemies as well. He could have found someone like Sen. Rand Paul to help him figure out the better way.

nofanofobama
6856
Points
nofanofobama 06/13/13 - 09:21 am
8
1
the obumler adminstration has

the obumler adminstration has bent and broken so many laws i have lost count, yet we got the same people still blaming bush...for those who are low information posters that might not realize bush is no longer the prez..your messiah was sworn in jan. 2009..

Dixieman
15982
Points
Dixieman 06/13/13 - 09:42 am
8
1
Joke of the day

NSA Director walks into a bar.
Bartender says, "Hey, I've got a great new joke for you."
NSA Director: "Heard it already."

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