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Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015

Who was more egregious: the government or Edward Snowden?

Guest columnist


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To some, Edward Snowden is a hero and to others he is a traitor.

He seems to have exposed the government spying on the American people without probable cause, and at the same time revealing critical American secrets to the world and our enemies. A traitor has been defined as one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty.

Did Snowden have an alternative way to expose the government's misdeeds, or did he not trust who he could turn to? He revealed National Security Administration government secrets at a time the Internal Revenue Service was being investigated by Congress and the Justice Department was assaulting journalists on their constitutional rights to gather news information, and not to forget the Benghazi fiasco that has not gone away.

Any way you put it, the American people are the ultimate victims of government intrusion on their freedoms. The public perception is that our government under Obama leadership has committed egregious breaches of trust by spying on them, shading the truth and abusing the citizens by enriching themselves with taxpayers' money while the American people can't even visit the White House.

Not only is the Obama administration employing egregious actions against the American people, they are also employing Hitler tactics against government employees.

Executive Order 13587 signed by President Barack Obama on Oct. 7, 2011, requires government agencies to "implement an insider threat detection and prevention program" - in effect, ordering all government employees, regardless of security clearances or the sensitivity of their work, to police fellow workers as potential security threats and report the suspicious behavior to their superiors.

The edict applies to all government agencies, even those with no involvement in national security matters. This edict helps create an atmosphere of mistrust and corruption at the work place. It is reminiscent of the Nazis not trusting each other and tattling on each other; even children were taught to tattle on their parents.

Mark Zaid, an attorney who has represented government whistle-blowers accused of wrongdoing, said "a larger problem is that most government agencies have no place where workers with legitimate grievances can go within the organization, without fear of being branded a malcontent - or worse, a potential national security threat."

Edward Snowden made a bad choice and should be punished for confiding with foreign governments instead of the U.S. Congress. A rogue government employee is bad enough, but a tyrannical government is even worse.

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." - Ronald Reagan.

Vinny Martinez is a Brooksville resident.

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