Perspectives: A letter that every American should read

OPINION – This past weekend’s vague though elevated state of “terror readiness” was a nice touch. The timing was perfect.

It’s just what we’d expect when serious public dissent over NSA domestic spying is building across America and even within Congress. Someone in the national security state must be getting worried.

Maybe that’s why they’re trying to remind us “why we need them.”

Civil disobedience is a regrettable necessity when laws are used to abuse our natural rights. Henry David Thoreau advised that when official wrong, “is of such a nature that if it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.”

There are times when unjust laws must be disobeyed or ignored.

It’s interesting how many times civil disobedience has been evident in American history. Refusal to enforce fugitive slave laws and Jim Crow laws were acts of defiance that helped to end slavery and segregation. There are moral laws that outweigh administrative acts of men.

Edward Snowden’s civil disobedience exposed the true depths of the secretive behavior currently engaged in by our government. By blowing the whistle on our government’s snooping on innocent people, Snowden acted in defense of moral law regarding our right to privacy.

This moral law is clearly spelled out in the Declaration of Independence and again in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Government officials are no longer abiding by the legal and moral limits of their authority. They have given themselves permission — in secret — to know whom you communicated with, how you did it, when you did it, and what locations were involved.

Those who console themselves by saying “at least they didn’t listen to the content” are missing the point. Dragnet surveillance of the American people serves the interests of the national security state, not the citizenry.

When government is allowed to operate in secrecy, there can be no effective system of checks and balances. Unelected agencies can exercise their power subject to the rulings of a secret court without any kind of adversarial process or public knowledge of what those secret rulings are.

This behavior is consistent with an authoritarian police state, not the government of a free people.

Snowden is now living in temporary asylum in Russia with U.S. officials angrily demanding that he be returned to face their version of “justice.” In the current climate of security-at-any-cost, this means that he could be held in secret, tortured, and detained indefinitely for making his revelations. The huffing and puffing of the current administration for his return is a good indicator that Snowden has struck a nerve.

As Michael Rozeff said, “The government has made a fool of itself internationally over Snowden. The critics of Snowden, increasingly shrill and extreme, cannot fend off the truth of vast government overreach. A switch is in the process of being thrown in which the Empire is going on the defensive. It remains to be seen whether this change in the current will become a turn in the tide.”

Members of Congress who could or should have spoken out have been silent or deliberately obscure when commenting on national security. Why is this?

Is it possible that the greatest potential blackmail machine in the history of mankind has been developed and instituted right under our noses? This might explain why so many other nations’ leaders are marching in lockstep with the national security community. Healthy amounts of U.S. dollars and military armaments may also be providing leverage for continued, if not coerced, cooperation.

Through his attorney, Edward Snowden’s father Lonnie Snowden has sent a letter to President Obama that makes a compelling case against the NSA’s domestic spying agenda. This letter needs to be widely distributed through every outlet available. It needs to be read and considered by all those who value good government and personal liberty. It is attached in PDF here: Attorney Fein for Lon Snowden to President Obama re Edward Snowden.

There is a virtual media blackout on this story, but the arguments made by attorney Bruce Fein are grounded in sound principles. Rational people will find a great deal to think about whether they agree with Snowden or not.


Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Dan Lester August 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Snowden violated the law, whether it was full treason or not. I’m pretty conservative on almost all issues, but if the government or anyone else wants to track where I go, read my boring email, read my posts on the net, take my picture with a security cam in 7-11 or the boulevard or anywhere else, have fun. My life is pretty boring. I don’t break the law.

    I DO care about constitutional rights to free speech, the Second Amendment, and so forth, but taking a picture of me in a public place, reading my writings, and so forth, just aren’t a problem to me.

    • Orbit August 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      enjoy your chains Dan – they likely will get tighter

      • Dan Lester August 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        If you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. And I don’t.

        • RPMcMurphy August 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

          Wrong according to whom? You or some junior deputy assistant secretary of some agency in Washington? To a Govt with unfettered power, “wrong’ is whatever they say it is. Gulags are full of people who wrote and said things their Govts decided were wrong.

      • Wesley Wright August 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Give me full access to all of your medical records, all your phone calls, all of your emails, your computer, your cell phone, and anything else I want then? What’s the difference between me having it and law breakers in Congress or any other government agency having it? Is it because you trust them and not me? I could be the one with all your information and who knows what I could do with it. Even if I don’t put you in jail maybe I just sell your stuff to someone who would use it for other things. My email is just as private as my mail. I have a right to privacy and the government took away that right. I don’t care if I am doing something wrong or not. I don’t want people knowing every little thing about me. If you have a problem with me knowing every little thing about you then you should have a problem with the government doing it.

  • Double Standard? August 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I wonder how many people have asylum in the US who are considered guilty of treason in their own countries? I always feel like somebody’s watching me.

  • Craig August 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Let’s see…President Barry spent a lot of time trying to convince us the data collection was nothing to be concerned about. It may even have been part of his “phony scandals” speech. So why does this administration want Snowden returned? Was it secrets, or was it nothing but “phony scandals?” President Barry can;t be too concerned about America or Americans. As embassy after embassy shut their doors, he was out playing golf.

  • Karen August 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin with this article. First off, Mr. Hyde invalidates his entire article by his allusion to a “conspiracy theory” by the big, bad government NSA right in the first paragraph. He, like fellow conspiracy theorists, have apparently failed to notice that Sept 11 is coming up. Since terrorists are big on anniversaries it makes sense that some terrorist group wants to do something. Unfortunately, everything looks like a conspiracy when all you look for are conspiracies.

    As for the rest of the article, there was no news blackout on Snowden’s father’s letter. It was widely reported and easily read on all news sources.

    Most curious is the sentence, “Is it possible that the greatest potential blackmail machine in the history of mankind has been developed and instituted right under our noses?” Sure, and there was another gunman on the grass hill.

    • RPMcMurphy August 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Regarding blackmail — do some research on J. Edgar Hoover’s use of FBI files

      • Karen August 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

        Everyone is well aware of J. Edgar Hoover’s tactics regarding blackmail. In the article, Mr. Hyde uses extreme hyperbole in his words, “the greatest potential blackmail machine in the history of mankind” . Really? Members of Congress are being blackmailed regarding national security and so they keep silent? When has any member of Congress kept silent about anything?

  • philiplo August 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    “Their version of justice?”
    It’s called the U.S. judicial system. Whether we like the guy (or not), or believe what he did is right (or not), he has a right to face his accusers and have an impartial judge or jury hear the evidence against him.
    Do you follow a different system?

    • Bryan Hyde August 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Actually we have dual justice systems in this country. The U.S. judicial system is one of them, but we also have a military justice system and, as we learned recently, still more secret courts who render secret decisions.
      That’s at least three in operation at this moment.
      Besides, under the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act, our government currently claims the power to kill, imprison, torture, or simply hold anyone indefinitely without evidence or due process. If the government labels you an “enemy combatant”, you can be disappeared just like in other police states.

  • Dan Lester August 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Yes, he should face the judge and jury. But for that we need to have him back here where he can do so. And if he believes what he did is right, he’d be defending himself, with plenty of big name lawyers, in a US court.

    • Bryan Hyde August 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Einstein and other notable Germans should have gone back to their homeland and made their case in court too, right? With the right lawyers, they’d have stood a chance, wouldn’t they?
      Laws that protect tyrannical behavior have no moral standing and should be ignored or broken to avoid becoming a part of its injustice.
      Our government recognizes no meaningful limits to its powers. We’re a lot more like 1930s Germans than we think.

  • The Real Truth August 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I can’t believe what I am hearing out of some of you people (Karen, Dan) that call yourselves Americans. We are talking about our, my rights as a citizen of this great nation. There breaking the law and taking my rights and doing what they wish. I happen to know Mr. Hyde personally and he is 100% American not like some of you that will give are rights away. And “conspiracy theory” … that was straight up conspiracy! Just in case you don’t no what the definition of that word means. Here you go.

    Conspiracy |kənˈspirəsē|
    noun ( pl. -cies)
    a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful :

    One last note, Lonnie tore Obamaaaa … up in that letter. 🙂

    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Robert Wilkes August 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I say that all of those who agree with the dribble in this article can easily avoid the “chains” imposed on their liberties by moving to an isolated mountain leaving all of their technology behind. However, those of us who live in a modern society and don’t feel the need to hide behind misquotes and historical distortions are OK with data collection that serves to liberate those who live in a complex modern world.

    • Wesley Wright August 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Aren’t the liberals the ones pissed because all the mining and drilling we are doing? Isn’t all the modern technology available to us because of all the mining and drilling for the resources to produce those products? Funny how on one hand you praise the modern technology while you tear it down with with the other. Double standards indeed telling us that built the technologies you love to abandon them and move to the mountains.

  • Fred August 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    This video says it all:

    • Karen August 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks, Fred for the link to the video that “says it all”. It is good to know where the views of the Tea Party are aligned. Now when I read Mr. Hyde’s articles or the rants from Mike Lee I will know that they come from the fear-mongering, crazyness of people like Curtis Bowers. The aforementioned video draws incredible conclusions and plays fast and loose with history. It’s conclusions are silly and Mr. Bowers should really take a class in the Constitution before he makes another video. His ignorance is incredible.

      • Bryan Hyde August 8, 2013 at 6:50 am

        You seem to have a lot of answers, Karen. Why don’t you share them with us poor, unenlightened souls? I see a lot of name-calling, but you’re contributing very little of substance.
        Ad hominem attacks probably feel good for letting off steam, but if you have a better grasp of the facts, why not share them?

        • Karen August 8, 2013 at 9:26 am

          You do make a good point about my response. I did not state facts, just vented. I just find it frustrating that when I grew up the “Red Menace” was out to get us all and we hid in our bomb shelters at home and at school. And now people like Mr. Bowers are calling another group, namely Democrats, a new Red Menace and that we should fear them too. In his video he even calls them “evil”.

          I just wish the Tea Party would get back to “Taxed Enough Already” and leave the conspiracy theories in the garbage where they belong. Calling President Obama a Marxist/Socialist/Communist (whatever that is) is silly.

          • Bryan Hyde August 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

            I share your frustration with people who are enemy-driven. Defining ourselves by who we’re against puts blinders on us. I believe that the president is a part of but not the source of our problems.

          • Wesley Wright August 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm

            “Tea Partiers commonly own guns and stock up ammunition and food in anticipation of starting another civil war to overthrow the will of the governing body who represent all of the American people. We are prepared for any contingency and don’t expect to see any kind of large insurrection. Americans are capitalists who are much more interested in seeing America move forward. These terrorists groups are small in size and really present little danger,” President Obama

            So he calls us terrorists and yet we are the ones calling Democrats a “red menace”. Sure, we are not perfect but I will always stand for my rights and not let the government have them and spy on me and lock me away and call me a terrorist because I stand for my rights and won’t let the government just take them away from me.

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