I started my weekly blog two years ago in Jan of 2012. One rule I have always had is no politics, religion, or finance on my page. The only exception to this has been on occasion when I needed to explain a personal spiritual belief of mine to put my own comments in their correct context. However, each time I was very careful to express that I was attempting to convert no one, and your own personal beliefs, even if they clash with mine, in no way effect my opinion of you. Each person’s spiritual beliefs are very personal and based on their own personal experiences.
Today I break the “rule of three no-no’s” and discuss politics. I am going to discuss the Edward Snowden case. This is the man who leaked classified secrets of the United States Government to the world wide web. Before I go too far though I need to disclose that as a submarine sailor in the United States Navy during the 1980’s I have been on classified missions on behalf of the NSA. As a sonar operator, and later a sonar supervisor, I was an important part of the classified activities we conducted for the NSA. I took an oath when I entered the United States Navy to obey my officers and the commander-in-chief (President of the United States or POTUS) and to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. When I was honorably discharged from the United States Navy I had two debriefings. The first, an unclassified debriefing, was held in an auditorium with a large group of men and women about to leave naval service. The second was a classified debriefing where I was debrief by two officers, just the three of us. I was asked to sign a non-disclosure statement, which I did. I will not discuss any of the items that are covered by this non-disclosure statement – ever. During my service, after different missions, we were also debriefed and asked to sign non-disclosure statements, I have signed many of them. They are always the same. Say nothing of what you know, under penalty of arrest for treason/espionage.
Edward Snowden would have signed these same non-disclosure documents. He violated his oath and committed treason. So, why do I support Edward Snowden? Why do I, someone who was given the same trust and responsibility, find no fault with a man who violated those very trusts that I still keep?
There is one very distinct difference between what I did for the NSA and what Snowden did for the NSA. What I did was legal. The NSA is forbidden by federal law from operating inside the United States and from collecting data on United States’ citizens. That job falls to the FBI (federal Bureau of Investigations) and local and state law enforcement agencies. The constitution also clearly states that an agent of the government must show, to a judge, evidence to suspect criminal activity and seek a warrant from a judge before it can spy or collect evidence on an individual or individuals without their consent.
Clearly the NSA was acting inside the United States, against American citizens, and did not have a warrant from a judge naming who was to be under surveillance. A violation of both federal and constitutional law.
On the blog theothersideofugly.com in it’s article “It is Time for Another Martin Luther King” written by Ms. Sheri Bessi she states “Is there a legal way to share with the citizens of earth what your respective governments are doing when one takes a job that makes you swear an oath not to share what your country’s government is doing; even if what your country’s government is doing is actually illegal? I don’t think so, so it’s a huge conundrum.”
I believe the federal whistleblower laws protect Mr. Snowden. But the real question is not whether Mr. Snowden is protected by law. Our government and it’s agencies no longer respects the law and routinely breaks the laws it is sworn to uphold and defend. Shortly before Edward Snowden released classified information demonstrating that the NSA was breaking federal and constitutional law the NSA appeared before the congress and denied it was spying on United States citizens, as Snowden later proved it was. Lying to congress is also a violation of federal law. The real question is how can Edward Snowden be protected from the government by laws, when the government does not respect law and routinely violates the law. Answer — he can’t.
During the Cold War Soviet citizens frequently sought political asylum in the United States after revealing the excesses of the Soviet government. In the 21st century United States citizens must seek political asylum in Russia (the former Soviet Union) after revealing the excesses of the government of the United States.
You would think that a United States citizen could seek protection in the United States Courts, but you would be wrong. Our judges have been appointed by the very same politicians (republican and democrat) who routinely violate the law. Judges are charge with interpreting our laws and ensuring they are followed, but our judges long ago stopped doing this. Justice Sotomayor, in 2005 speaking before Duke University Law school, stated that the court of appeals is where policy is made. She went on to say she was not advocating it or supporting it. Conservatives attacked the Justice for her comments. I applauded her, she stated in public on tape what is already common in our Justice system. She didn’t say it was right or wrong, she merely said what is actually happening, and she is correct. I salute the Justice for her courage in stating the truth, that judges are making law from the bench. Making the law is the job of the legislature, interpreting law is the job of the courts.
Where? Is here now, where you are.
When? Is now, right now. We may be able to turn back the out of control governments of the world in the future, but the longer we wait the harder it will be.
Who? Is you, me, your neighbor, your family and friends, all of us.
How? Write letters to your local news agencies; print, television, and radio. Talk about this with your family and friends, talk about it on family and friendly gatherings, talk about it in church and social clubs.
Can We really make a difference? Yes, we can. I have friends across the spectrum on politics. These friends are so diverse that they agree on nothing … except that our government is out of control and no longer respects the law. When extreme liberals and extreme conservatives are saying the same thing, the time to act is now.
I will write more in the future. Copy this and hand it out to the people you know, discuss it, act now. Make comments below. Listen to people you normally would not talk with. Find common ground. Only together can we return our nations to governments that respect, uphold, and defend the laws and rights of our countries.
Joe C Combs II