The Obama administration should breathe a hidden sigh of relief that he has not returned. The reality is that most americans, I believe, are more aghast at the exposure of the scope and scale of the ever growing spy state than they are at what some regard as Snowden's treasonous activity. As bad as the leak, many, like me, feel like they owe him a debt of gratitude for lifting the veil.
A public trial would unmask a fault line and schism between establishment figures from both parties and the civil libertarians that would I think be historically divisive. Recent statements from liberals like Pelosi, Feinstein, Franken and Klobuchar in support of the programs are no less noxious than those of Lindsay Graham, Cheney and the figures on the right.
Quickly slap dashed privacy boards, rubber stamping FISA courts and Senate Intelligence committees that muzzle dissenting members have not assuaged the view amongst most of us that we are witnessing a government surveillance state run amok. A fishing operation in which billions of americans personal communications are cast into an ever growing net to harvest in order to connect the dots for a meager handful of terrorist operations seems overly draconian and unnecessary to most clear thinking americans. The cure is simply worse than the disease. We are simply more afraid of "us" than we are of "them."
They recognize what a national dialogue is and what it is not. It is not a mere briefing, it is a decision that every American will personally decide and weigh in on and ultimately have the final say on. An NSA that rummages through our personal data and communications looking for "inadvertent" signs of criminal behavior while operating as a hand maiden for the FBI strikes me as totally un american and contrary to our country's ideals. We have no faith in a government that assures us that they are the "good guys" and promises to police itself. It is precisely at tough times like these when we should redouble our efforts to protect our constitution and bill of rights, not degrade them.
These programs stink, whether they are a creation of Republicans or Democrats. Once again, thank you Edward Snowden for letting us know how bad things really are. While not everybody, certainly many loyal americans believe that we owe you a debt of gratitude.