Often on this show I talk about things that are fun, or at least in the realm of entertainment. Like Pokemon or the way Nintendo had Bayonetta redesigned so the focus isn’t so much on her chest. But today, I have something legitimately important.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., represents the 2nd Congressional District on Long Island. Normally, nothing he says or does is particularly important, especially to this program. Today is an exception.
King was recently a guest on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” During his appearance, he talked about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. King claimed that what Snowden did last year -- collect and leak documents showing that the NSA was spying on American citizens en masse -- could not be duplicated now. “A lot of that has been changed; there is monitoring now of what goes on. Snowden would not be able to do it again in the future.”
In a nutshell, what King was trying to say is that the rudimentary employee barriers Snowden bypassed during his time as an NSA contractor in Hawaii have been upgraded somehow, and that there’s no way he could do it again. Of course, King is a politician, and Snowden is a computer expert who was able to track and gather documents from the world’s foremost superpower for years. Undetected.
But King is definitely sure Snowden couldn’t do it again.
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What’s more alarming than King’s baseless claim of expertise is his view that Snowden is a thief and a traitor, as the government has purported him to be. Will we in the media or the general public ever know everything the government does? Do we need to know everything? Is it safer for us not to know what’s going on, rather than believe we live in a modern version of George Orwell’s "1984?" Regardless of what you think the answers to those questions are, you have to stop and wonder: Why are government officials talking to the media about what Snowden supposedly did and took?
Snowden gave us all something to think about, after the string of articles quoting military and government officials was published: As he has said, “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”
As journalists, it’s our job to conduct interviews and write the articles. But we’re also obligated to follow the truth, wherever it might take us. No matter how uncomfortable it might be.