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Latarski: Quacks like a spy?
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It seems like one of those things that make you go, Hmmmm.

There may be more to Edward Snowden’s data information leaking that meets the eye, or in this case the ear.

Now we learn from his own words that Snowden, self-proclaimed protector of the people’s right to know, took the job that gave him access to the intelligence gathering process with the premeditated idea of acquiring and releasing sensitive information.

Hmmmm. This sorta, kinda makes him sound like a spy.

Then, while on the lamb from possible criminal prosecution, he takes refuge in such high moral places as China and former Soviet Union countries with the rumor being he will ask for asylum in Ecuador. 

Sorta kinda what a spy would do.

Snowden is, of course, facing serious criminal charges as a result of his activities and rather than face the possibility of going to prison, he is trying to fade away from the light and avoid prosecution.

Sorta kinda like what a spy would do.

Damaging an intelligence gathering operation does not require the release of specific names or operations. If someone wants to damage a network, one very effective way is to simply let everyone know how the process works. 

This is sorta kinda the thing a spy would know how to do.

Snowden may very well be just what he says he is — a guy who believes the public needed to know about how the government was operating.

The problem is, the information gathering method being discussed was already common knowledge to most people and a monitoring arm had been put in place in Congress. How effective that monitoring may be is a question but there is little doubt most people in this country have long suspected the government is listening in on phone calls and emails in an effort to connect dangerous dots.

We, the people, understand the government will take a mile if you give it an inch but we also understand we have moved into a new world of evil, terror and intrigue so we begrudgingly accept government conduct that might once have been considered crossing the line.

Without this type activity, as soon as something happens, the naysayers line up demanding to know how the government failed, who knew what, when, and why wasn’t someone connecting the dots. In short, you can’t have it both ways.

There is a limit as to what the government should be allowed to do in protection of its people and while that line can meander, we ultimately decide when it has been crossed. Right now, the vast majority of people seem to have accepted the idea that the action being taken in gathering data is basically acceptable as long as it doesn’t go a step further.

One way for Snowden to make his point and prove the government has stepped too far would be to return to the country and take his chances in court.

Going to trial is dangerous because you never know what a jury might do, but if he is sincere in his mission to expose nefarious dealings by the government, then making the government stand up in court and justify certain actions would significantly strengthen his case. Certainly this course is fraught with peril but brave men standing up for the people understand the risks they take if they are honest.

The downside is prison until the sun burns out. On the other side is the idea that spies, people paid by one government to work against another — sometimes even their own country — usually try to hide out and fade away.

How much damage Snowden did to the intelligence community is unknown. Some say it was a major blow while others say it was minimal.

And Snowden may very well be nothing more than what he says he is and perhaps he does have other information that will prove the government has gone too far and violated the trust of the people.

Right now, we don’t know.

But looking at someone hiding out in China and Russia and then looking to retire to Ecuador sure makes you go, Hmmmmmmm.   



Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at