One man’s traitor is another man’s folk hero

Eric Snowden is going to be a household name for some time yet. The US Government has all but guaranteed that now. The man who released information on the NSA’s controversial data mining of cell phone conversations and fled the country is technically a traitor, but the government seems bent on turning him into a folk hero.

Personally I don’t see what the fuss is about. The program didn’t originate with Obama, though he promised to shut it down–and evidently changed his mind. We’ve known about it for some time. Snowden’s reminding us of it has changed nothing, really. The only real change is how the government is attempting to deal with it.

Remember when the Obama administration pledged to be the most transparent administration in history? Remember when they vowed to protect whistleblowers? So do a lot of other people, who now find themselves scratching their heads over the administration’s determination to get the guy who told us what we already knew. Their attempts to date have alternated between The Evil Empire and The Keystone Cops.

Obviously the rest of the world is having a great laugh at our expense. Russia is flaunting our extradition requests, refusing to accept that Snowden has done anything worthy of arrest. Even countries we have good relations with seem to be dragging their feet to help, and laughing at our impotence. Snowden turns up in Hong Kong and leaves again without anyone stopping him. He turns up in Russia and sends reporters on a wild good chase to Cuba, thinking he’s on a plane there. Now we can only assume he’s in Russia, but does anyone really know?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but about the only possible explanation here besides that our government is horrifically clueless is that the government is playing out this farce on purpose. They certainly have a lot of things they would prefer we not pay attention to right now. What better distraction than an international game of cat and mouse–it’s a Hollywood screenwriter’s dream come true! And Americans, as a rule, love watching the harmless rebel stick it to the over-reacting, incompetent Suits. Is there anyone besides government officials and hoping he’ll get caught and stand trial?

I don’t know what to make of the guy, frankly. I’m afraid I don’t want to look into it deeply enough to form an opinion. But I do see what’s going on. Americans love a folk hero. The government seems to be dead set on turning Snowden into one.

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