Snowden Isn’t Traitor Not That it Matters

Edward SnowdenThis morning, Dylan Matthews at Wonk Blog (which is no longer free) explained, No, Edward Snowden Probably Didn’t Commit Treason. You see, Dianne Feinstein isn’t the only high profile idiot saying—based upon no evidence, I might add—that Snowden is a traitor. But it turns out that treason is a very specific legal construct that is hard to meet.

Basically, in order to commit treason, an individual must either go to war against the United States or must help a country that is at war with the United States. That clearly doesn’t include Snowden. In fact, it didn’t even include Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. We weren’t at war with the Soviet Union, so no treason for them.

There is even a question as to whether we are at war with al Qaeda. Of course, there is no question that our lapdog judiciary would see it that way. And that is what most concerns me about all this talk of treason. Even under the worst case scenario, Snowden is not a traitor. But as we’ve seen time and time again, the government has no problem stretching the law to unbelievable lengths in order to justify all of its vile acts. Just look at how the Obama administration has used the Espionage Act of 1917 to go after leakers. John Kiriakou was charged with three counts of violating it because he blew the whistle on our torture program. Go team!

In the end, I’m sure the government will go after Snowden under the Espionage Act too. But the truth is that it could go after him under the treason clause of the Constitution. And that should really concern us. At this point, the law is just a play thing for the government. If the government doesn’t like what you’ve done or what you’re doing, it will come after you. And there is nothing you can do about it. Kiriakou is a good example. In the end, all of the threats of the Espionage Act and even “making false statements” were dropped. But they still got him. He’s still going to spend two and a half years in jail.

So I don’t think Feinstein and friends really think that Edward Snowden is guilty of treason, except maybe in the colloquial sense (although that’s bad enough). They are just laying more of a foundation for further destruction of our civil rights. King George III: 1; American Revolutionaries: 0.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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