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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Ethics of Whistleblowing - Part 1

By Ed O'Neill
The Mises Daily
Originally published July 8, 2013

Recent revelations about the extent and details of the massive NSA surveillance program have been made possible mostly by the actions of a single whistleblower, Edward Snowden, presently in hiding from the wrath of the US government, whose shameful and frightening secrets he has now made public knowledge. Despite repeated denials by its officials, it is now evident that the NSA runs a data-collection and spying network which collects masses of data on the private communications of non-US citizens, and some private communications on US citizens. It does so without requirement for any individual warrants for its targets, and without requirement for any probable cause with respect to any of the individuals whose communications are collected. Instead, the entire program operates under a broad procedure-based warrant system, whereby a special clandestine court hears submissions from the government in secret and then dutifully approves general procedures for mass surveillance, without any adversarial argument being raised by any other party. The warrants allow mass surveillance and storage of data at the discretion of NSA analysts, and these warrants are clearly at odds with the principle of eschewing unreasonable searches.[1]

Proving the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, Snowden is presently facing charges from the US government for theft of government property and unauthorized disclosure of defense and intelligence material.[2] He is also subject to widespread vilification in the establishment media, where he has been branded as a “traitor” and a “cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood.”[3] Glenn Greenwald, the main journalist responsible for publication of the leaked material, is also in the crosshairs of the media, and has been accused of committing a felony for publishing the leaked material.[4] He has also been questioned by establishment media figures as to whether he should be charged with a crime for having “aided and abetted” Snowden.[5] This, of course, is preferable to a sack over the head and a bullet to the brain, but it is a far cry from creating an environment for openness and transparency in government conduct.

The entire story is here.
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