COLUMN: Snowden is a Traitor
Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 18:01
Most of this year’s freshman class was five years old when terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and attempted to fly another into the U.S. Capitol. Some do not remember the uncertainty and pain that swept this country.
I vividly remember Sept. 11, 2001. That day united America; we stood up from the ashes of the wreckage committed to finding those responsible for the attack and making sure it never happens again. We value our freedom; we fought a war for it. Liberty is not possible without security. To some, Edward Snowden may be seen as a hero. To me he is a traitor to this country and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. There is a fine line between maintaining our freedom and ensuring security. Debating that line is appropriate and necessary in order to maintain our liberties, but when that debate turns into a security risk, something must be done.
There is a long history of whistleblowers in America’s intelligence community. Many whistleblowers have followed proper procedure when expressing their concerns. Snowden leaked classified information to a foreign media outlet. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have intelligence committees. These committees can provide whistleblowers with a forum in which they can express their concerns and work to resolve them. Snowden’s rash actions have put Americans at risk and threatened to undo over a decade’s worth of work and sacrifice on the part of our intelligence agencies since 9/11.
Some people who are unfamiliar with intelligence gathering wonder why this is such a big deal. Sources and methods are two of the most important and highly classified aspects in intelligence gathering. Sources are the foreign individuals who work with U.S. intelligence in gathering intelligence. Methods refer to the manner in which intelligence is gathered. This includes the tactics used by intelligence officers, such as the NSA’s monitoring and collection program. By leaking this information, Snowden made public our methods. Many terrorists have stopped using the telephone carriers and email providers implicated by Snowden. This has created a critical security risk. If our intelligence agencies can’t monitor terrorists, then the likelihood of a successful terrorist attack is increased manifold.
I also think it is quite telling that Snowden fled to the open arms of Putin, former director of the FSB and the KGB, the Soviet Union’s and Russia’s CIA, respectively. There has even been talk amongst lawmakers that Snowden may not have been working alone, but as an asset of the FSB. The lawmakers suggesting this are Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, respectively.