FBI Director James Comey is perplexed. It seems
many Americans view revealer-of-snooping-and-eavesdropping Edward Snowden as a
whistleblower on wrongdoing and a hero.
How can this be, he asked a room full of reporters at a
lunchtime interview Thursday. After all, the
president said hoovering up everybody’s private information is
lawmakers said it was a swell idea, and
judges gave a big-ol’ thumbs-up to the practice. “I see the
government operating the way the founders intended,” Comey insists.
“So I have trouble applying the whistleblower label to someone who
basically disagrees with the way our government is structured and
Here’s the thing that Jimmy doesn’t understand. When government
officials do terrible things, and structure the rules to authorize
themselves to do terrible things, blowing the whistle on their
shenanigans is a good thing to do because it goes against
the horrible, horrible “way our government is structured and
operates.” Given the risks involved—former CIA Director James
Woolsey suggests Snowden “should
be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”—challenging government
officials in defiance of the rules those same officials have
crafted to whitewash their misdeeds can, understandably, be
characterized as “heroic.”
The fact is, many Americans don’t think of Comey, and James
Clapper, and General Keith Alexander, and their friends and
enablers in the three branches of government as being on the same
side as us. Snowden scored a coup for our side by revealing the
other side’s creepy surveillance schemes.
And let’s be honest here. Comey did himself no favors when, in
the same interview, he argued against a
review panel’s recommendations that the FBI’s own use of
secretive and intrusive national security letters be subject to
some kind of oversight.
“What is broken for which we need that solution?” he asked.
Where to start…? Where to start…?
What would seem tobe broken is the political class’s sense of
right and wrong, and their appreciation of individual liberty and
privacy. And that’s why so many of us cheer for Edward Snowden and
hope for more like him.
Maybe there’s somebody with access to FBI files who feels the
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/sorry-mr-fbi-director-challenging-govern