On to Russia. Will Putey Poot grab him and hold him for a reset card on Syria or let him pass through on his way to Venezuela via communist Cuba? We will see.
Meanwhile, the story continues to produce a litter of cats and dogs, living together in mass chaos. Here's Valerie and Joe Plame writing in the Guardian about the massive national security complex, something with which I agree with them.
At the same time they can't resist bashing their old nemesis Cheney for referring to Snowden as a traitor and how nauseating that is for them--the same couple who bashed Cheney for allegedly releasing information on a secret spy. So when Plame's national security secret was released that was bad and may have caused people in the field to get dead or enemies to gain secrets, terrible breach of the law. Now it's all about the public's right to know (yet not one mention of Obama in their piece). Guffaw.
A good source of info. Sorry folks, my jury is still out on this whole thing. No doubt Snowden committed a crime by busting his clearance, but he might be a whistleblower. Yes, he gave up unrelated info on NSA spying on Hong Kong and China--within their legal purview--but this info was likely spilled to provide some leverage to get out of town without being extradited (Hong Kong has "questions" for US on this, etc).
But when you lie down with dogs you get their fleas. If he's going to use communist China, crony Russia, Wikileaks, communist Cuba and Marxist Venezuela to facilitate his freedom to leak more about America, that's a problem.
The reason NSA, Bush, Obama and most of Congress and Mark Thiessen say we need this program is because it's basically the only tool left in the war on terror that can prevent an attack. As Thiessen says, we don't interrogate anymore (Army Field Manual--they can remain silent) so there's little else to do but spy on communications. But it's clear to any rational observer that the spying (even gathering metadata) violates the spirit of the 4th Amendment even if the SCOTUS says otherwise.
Obama sees this huge conundrum, keeps it quiet, then when busted says "we need to have a national debate". Aside from the fact that such a debate should have been before his election, yes, let's have one. Here are the choices--do we the people want to 'go it alone' as Thiessen says and react to the next attack instead of trying to prevent it, or do we the people want to give up some freedom and trust the government to do the right thing? It's not a simple construct.
The president/CinC has the constitutional responsibility to uphold the 4th Amendment but he also has the responsibility to protect the American public from attacks both foreign and domestic. If he tosses this program aside and another 9/11 scale event occurs we the people will largely blame him for 'not keeping us safe' or 'connecting the dots'. And yes, some of the same people bashing him now over Snowden will be the ones protesting the loudest.
Maybe we should ask the question--why are we fighting? What's the GWoT really about? In my view it's about a clash of cultures between a secular and democratic west, largely rooted in free markets (such that they are) against a fundamentalist, repressive, orderly religious society that doesn't like the excesses and corruption they see from the west and believe they are on a mission from Allah to stop it, even if it means using the most banal and barbaric tactics. Both sides present their respective rule of law: the West's secular courts system versus the fundamentalists' Sha'ria system.
The non-religious totalitarian societies have tacitly glommed on to the fundamentalist because they have a common enemy in the west. Wikileaks is an example--they could care less what kind of communications are coming out of Russia or China or any other Marxist enclave. This latter axis is totalitarian in nature, with ruling bodies handing down judgments instead of citizens (yes, in a perfect Wikileaks world a panel of experts would decide everything and/or it would be based on mob rule, the kind of 'peoples democracy' they envision). A world run by Sha'ria would be like Iran--a group of Mullahs behind the scenes dictating everything.
So if we're to win this 'war' we have to win over hearts and minds to the western way. Bush started the democracy kick to do just that. He felt that people were inherently all the same and wanted the same things, and that democracies were less likely to invade their neighbors, start wars or sponsor terrorists. The Arab Spring is sort of a continuation of that theme despite it's current ugly appearance. It's likely the Obama folks feel that despite the rise of groups like HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood or enemy combatants like Ansar al-Sharia or al-Nusra, in the end the people will see the light and depose these strong horses in favor of more moderate secular democracies once they get a taste of self-rule. At least we can hope that's why they are pushing it. At any rate the jury is still out on that concept. What other way is there to export our values?
But in doing so we must maintain our own values and precepts. The worst thing in the world is the superpower telling everyone how to behave and pointing to American values when we're busy trashing them on a daily basis. Obama said he wanted to close GITMO and reign in the Bush-era spying and secrecy but he's now been exposed as a fraud on that account, which damages the reputation of the West. The theory that we're just BS'ing to raid their lands, take their oil and resources and make them loyal customers to our commercial products just gets more legs.
So, do we the people want to deconstruct the spying network and fly this freebird alone, or do we want to talk democracy and freedom but chase down people like Snowden and others for exposing the security apparatus, making ourselves look like rank hypocrites? Can any politician weather the storm after a mass-casualty attack by saying, "well folks, freedom isn't free"? Are we as a society mature and patriotic enough to agree with that powerful statement while cleaning up the rubble of a destroyed city and burying our dead? Or does that notion go counter to the very reason we have a Commander-in-Chief in the first place--to protect us from enemies--and besides, Google and the supermarket track everything we do anyway? I just don't know the 100 percent correct answer.