Friday, January 31, 2014

Snowden helped and harmed the US, so cut him a deal

(Could've sworn I blogged in the past that the Obama Admin had gone too far on the government surveillance, but can't find it. Oh well. (UPDATE:  stumbled on it here, from June last year.))

Not too much original to say here other than if a whistleblower reveals information that causes what passes for a consensus these days in Washington that the government's overreached on surveillance, that's clearly a great benefit to American society and others who've been snooped on.

Snowden also revealed info on how we've snooped on non-allies, which was unnecessary and harmful. Revealing our snooping on allies led to huge hypocrisy from said allies, although it might also help with reduced Orwellianness towards Jane Six-Pack Foreigner. Also worth noting that he apparently lied to a dozen or two fellow employees to persuade them to break protocol and give him their passwords, and they're now as unemployed as he is but minus the celebrity status.

I guess he'd have been more heroic had he stayed to take his punishment, but I don't see it as a requirement that one maximizes the price one pays for doing the right thing (given that a lot of what he did was right).

Assuming the claim he's a Russian spy are just bull, then cut him a deal:  he cooperates to limit any future damage, tells all he knows about where he's hid the information still out there, he forfeits all future book/movie royalties, and in return he comes home and gets probation for a few years.