Perspectives: One year after Snowden’s revelations, what’s changed?

OPINION – One year ago, when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the true scope of our federal government’s spying on its citizenry, it should have been our wake up call.

His revelations about the unconstitutional abuse of our privacy by government spy agencies should have served as a warning to us. But the American people have figuratively glanced at the canary lying on its back, shrugged their shoulders and gone back to mining coal.

As a highly paid contractor with our most advanced spy agencies, Snowden became concerned by the massive data collection that his employers were publicly denying. When he tried to bring up his concerns through official channels, he was snubbed. Even the American press could not be trusted to maintain its journalistic integrity by acting as a watchdog against government excesses.

Upon making his stunning disclosures last year, Snowden explained the reason for making his stunning revelations:

I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded.

Snowden also stated his deepest concern in releasing the information about his government’s secret misdeeds:

My greatest fear regarding the outcome for America is nothing will be done and people won’t fight to change things.

It appears that his fear was well-founded. A fearful American public focuses on whether the messenger should be punished for violating his oath of secrecy rather than demanding their government cease violating their natural rights.

Not surprisingly, the harshest condemnation comes from political leaders who call Snowden a “coward” and a “traitor” for exposing their illegitimate activities. Sadly, like other historical figures that found the courage to speak out against official wrongdoing, Snowden’s character will likely not be appreciated until it is too late.

When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, it’s a safe bet that we’re being ruled by criminals.

So why should this matter to the average American?

It’s simply another puzzle piece of a full-fledged police state that is being constructed right under our noses. Police states invade privacy for one of two reasons; they view the people as resource to be managed or they view them as potential criminals who must be monitored.

Whether it’s compiling every bit of electronic data generated by hundreds of millions of innocent people or watching us through omnipresent surveillance systems, government is erasing our privacy.

Combined with the billions of rounds of ammunition and armored personnel carriers it is purchasing, and the rush to arm virtually every federal agency, it’s clear that the federal government views the people as internal enemies.

When government seeks to conduct its business in secret rather than in the light of day, it is not acting in the best interests of the people from which it derives its just powers. Secret laws benefit only those in power, not the people they are sworn to represent.

Government does not exist to keep us safe from nebulous threats that only it can know. It exists to keep us free by protecting our freedoms from enemies foreign and domestic.

Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why Snowden’s expose of NSA domestic spying all boils down to a question of government acting within its proper limits. He said:

The Constitution presupposes the existence of natural rights and areas of human endeavor that are insulated from government knowledge and immune to government regulation, except in the most carefully prescribed circumstances.

Those circumstances require that probable cause of crime be possessed by the government about identifiable persons and demonstrated to a neutral judge before the government may engage in any surveillance of that person.

One year later, the bad publicity over Snowden’s revelations has largely subsided for everyone but Edward Snowden. As Gary North points out, the NSA continues to receive its funding and no official steps have been take to curtail its warrantless surveillance of everyone.

Likewise, the NSA center near Salt Lake City continues to move forward even as state leaders tout the jobs that it creates.

We have some serious choices to make in the days ahead if we do not wish to find ourselves in a place where privacy and freedom do not exist. If government is failing to look out for the interests of the American people, it should be replaced — as peacefully as is possible.

This means we should be solemnly considering how to start building our own ways of obtaining protection and justice.

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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: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • Fred June 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Bryan,

    You are so right but people care more about sports or dumb TV shows or the Kardashian trash or Mr. Sterling thanks to the controlled media.

    But on the other hand I used to work at NSA and I can tell you most are a bunch of buffoons who only care about goofing off, lunch and quitting time. I wouldn’t worry about them listening to Americans conversations.

    What is more serious is that our Congressmen do nothing about the so called “dictator” that is currently occupying the White House and is disregard to the constitution and our laws and is getting away with it.

    • Ron June 2, 2014 at 11:48 am

      Fred, you don’t have a clue as to what it’s like to live under a dictator. In a dictatorship, you’d be hauled off to prison–or worse–for posting your comment. In a dictatorship, the Nevada desert would be full of the rotting carcasses of militiamen. Yes, we have to keep a weather eye out, but describing our president as a “dictator” is unbelievable nonsense.

      • Chris June 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        “Fred, you don’t have a clue” You said it all right there. Fred lives in his own paranoid world. Amusing that he used to work at the NSA–another retired federal worker living on an overly generous federal pension complaining about government overreach.

  • zzzz June 2, 2014 at 10:46 am

    thankfully russia will keep snowden safe

  • Fred June 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Ron

    Aren’t you aware of the NDAA that was passed with little publicity and signed by Barry? Do you realize what they can and will probably do when the time is right. Now is the time to speak up not later. If Barry isn’t a dictator he sure is doing many things a dictator would do: IRS, Fast and Furious Benghazi, Acorn, Sealed Records, Pelosi and Bill Ayres, firing Generals, Seal deaths, and why is the govt. buying so much ammo?

    And Congress does nothing. Watergate was a ride in the park compared to what Barry and Holder are doing.

  • jar June 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Bryan,
    The NSA is busing this morning. Good article.
    Who is this big mouth Bryan Hyde? Bring me his files, NOW. All of them. phone conversations, writings, complete dossier. We don’t need no stinking court order. Have Holder’s grunion plant the accessory mics & cameras. Has he ever had a personal conversation with Snowden? Can he be bought off? Check with ED. Is he planning to run for any district office out west? Check with Sen Reid.

  • zzzz June 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    What’s funny is that it was the Bush Jr administration that started most of this secrecy culture. Strangely enough, most of you had no problem with it back then. Bama is just continuing those policies of Bush/Cheny.

    • David Dalley June 3, 2014 at 2:39 am

      Bush kept us safe. He was a real leader

      Obama fried chicken is a Muslim. They hate freedom

  • Maggie June 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    All my life I have loved to read history. Sometimes I am sorry about that . I find myself thinking ,on a somewhat weekly basis, that’s not legal, true, safe, financially feasible ,etc….whatever adjective fits to explain what my government is doing at the time.
    Then all of a sudden to my neighborhood came the Bundy ranch saga. Now I am still struggling with illegals walking into my country and my government looking the other way because, they say they do not have the manpower or the PC approach “But the families will be separated” approach to explain breaking these laws. Me, who comes from a military family who endured many family separations because of decisions to serve my country. Then all of a sudden a band of merry “military like” BLM and other agents showed up with the heaviest firepower I have ever seen outside of a battlefield , for use against an elderly, Christian rancher ,family and friends. There was unpaid fees, turtles , China and Harry Reid and wind farms involved in that fiasco. Sounds like a soap opera, but it was not, it was real. Scary real! History in the making real, and I had read this all before ,only it happened in a different time and place.
    Snicker if you want ,call those of us who pay attention paranoid ,but you may want to also pay attention ,for those of you who are younger and adore Obama and his band of merry men and women, this is your world now and you may just be the next Cliven Bundy. You will have to pay the bill for all that is going on ,financially and who knows how else.

    • JSD June 3, 2014 at 5:51 am

      If the only choice is between Barak or Bundy we are all screwed.

  • Fred June 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    To: Jar and Ron

    Don’t forget to attend the rally on June 14th

    http://www.birtherreport.com/2014/06/left-coast-protest-obamas-impeachment.html

  • BSMETER June 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Judging by the comments, people are fixated on either being pro liberal or pro conservative. Completely missing the point of the article. The government should not be spying on american citizens….ever!

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