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NSA: Snowden owed thanks – for what?

Letter by Patrick M. O'Brien, Tacoma on July 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm with No Comments »
July 31, 2013 9:10 am

Regarding the National Security Agency’s wholesale sweep of phone numbers, the issue of privacy seems a bit overblown.

True enough, a record of my telephone calls exists somewhere in cyberspace, but I don’t consider the fact any more invasive than phone company records, which can be accessed by any government authority with sufficient reason. Until and unless I become a terrorist, I don’t really have to worry about it.

Among the millions, if not billions, of telephone numbers in a government computer, mine is probably among them. So what? I haven’t heard any knocks on the door late at night, and it’s always been reassuring to know that government spooks are keeping tabs on the bad guys. And who knows how many times another 9/11 has been averted?

My real concern is with fellows like Edward Snowden. In a strictly technical sense, he may not be a traitor, but his actions have certainly had a similar effect. By revealing our secrets, he’s opened a Pandora’s box that is sure to have future repercussions.

Thus far, the terrorists have proven themselves resourceful and adaptable, and now they know how we operate. It’s only a matter of time before they use their new information. And we can thank Snowden for that – not, as Eugene Robinson seemed to suggest (column, 7-30), for doing us any favors.

For my money, whether for admirable or despicable reasons, the fellow has inadvertently breached the law of unintended consequences, and now the plot only thickens. Will another shoe drop?

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