Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ed Snowden might be safer if he were tried for treason.

There's been a lot of loose talk about Snowden being a traitor.

Here's the American Constitution on Treason, Article III:
Section. 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
It's not obvious Snowden has a case to answer for any of that, unless the enemies of the American Constitution are domestic, in which case both Manning and Snowden swore oaths to defend against them.  The American Deep State might itself feel betrayed by this geek of no consequence, who like Bradley Manning chose to defy the Great and the Good by going out on his own and pointing out the obvious, in this casethe treachery conducted by the G&G for the benefit of themselves.

This sort of Greater Good has been observed before and can't be pointed out too often:
"These men, largely private, were functioning on a level different from the foreign policy of the United States, and years later when New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan read through the entire documentary history of the war, that history known as the Pentagon Papers, he would come away with one impression above all, which was that the government of the United States was not what he had thought it was; it was as if there were an inner U.S. government, what he called 'a centralized state, far more powerful than anything else, for whom the enemy is not simply the Communists but everything else, its own press, its own judiciary, its own Congress, foreign and friendly governments - all these are potentially antagonistic. It had survived and perpetuated itself,' Sheehan continued, 'often using the issue of anti-Communism as a weapon against the other branches of government and the press, and finally, it does not function necessarily for the benefit of the Republic but rather for its own ends, its own perpetuation; it has its own codes which are quite different from public codes. Secrecy was a way of protecting itself, not so much from threats by foreign governments but from detection from its own population on charges of its own competence and wisdom.' Each succeeding Administration, Sheehan noted, was careful, once in office, not to expose the weaknesses of its predecessor.  After all, essentially the same people were running the governments, they had continuity to each other, and each succeeding Administration found itself faced with virtually the same enemies. Thus the national security apparatus kept its continuity, and every outgoing President tended to rally to the side of the incumbent President.

"Out of this of course came a willingness to use covert operations; it was a necessity of the times, to match the Communists, and what your own population and your own Congress did not know was not particularly important; it was almost better if they did not know..."

David Halberstam
The Best and The Brightest
[emphasis added]

Judging by the Keystone Kops conduct of Bradley Manning's court-marshal, Ed Snowden might be safer tried for treason than on the lam from fools with hardware.