The Norman Transcript

Opinion

July 3, 2013

Privacy is a right, not a privilege

(Continued)

NORMAN —

For his efforts, Snowden was charged with espionage and theft of government property.

The case is a major embarrassment for the Obama administration, where its National Security Agency appears more like the Stasi of the former East Germany. In a world of technology, however, you do not need to plant informers in each neighborhood to eavesdrop on the words of its residents.

Norman Solomon, an author and founding director of Institute for Public Accuracy, rightly concludes that the government’s actions are a threat to democracy.

“The central issue is our dire shortage of democracy,’’ he wrote on his website. ``How can we have real consent of the governed when the government is entrenched with extreme secrecy, surveillance and contempt for privacy?

“The same government that continues to expand its invasive dragnet of surveillance, all over the United States and the rest of the world, is now asserting its prerogative to drag Snowden back to the USA from anywhere on the planet.’’

The Obama administration now has employed the Espionage Act in seven criminal cases in its crackdown on leaks of secrets. Unlike the Rosenbergs, Snowden all told is facing 30 years in prison rather than the death penalty.

While the government is trying to get Snowden returned to the U.S., it is prosecuting at military trial Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been jailed for three years for admitting that he sent hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and other documents to Wikileaks, the anti-secrecy website.

Manning also is accused of aiding the enemy because of the nature of his leaks, while Snowden appears to have more popular support for the kind of information he made public.

Polls show that only little more than a majority go along with the government’s plan to prosecute, and that young people, Tea Party supporters and liberals believe Snowden’s leaks provided a public service by exposing government spying on American citizens.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Stick to the sports

    Editor, The Transcript: Why must we, especially us nice conservatives, be subjected to political commentary in a sports column? I hear/view Fox News routinely and find their coverage quite acceptable. I also hear/view CNN and MSNBC. I ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Corporation Commission should should evaluate quakes, fracturing

    Editor, The Transcript: Is your house at risk of being damaged in an earthquake because of fracking? Maybe. We’ve seen more earthquakes and tremors in Oklahoma seven months into 2014 than in the two previous years combined. At the same ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman can stop fracking before it escalates

    Editor, The Transcript: There are 163 fracked wells within Norman city limits. With growing attention to health and safety concerns, the city is considering changes to the existing oil and gas ordinance....

    July 27, 2014

  • We should be offended by things that matter

    Editor, The Transcript: I’m offended. Why you say? I live in the USA, in Norman — a great town. What could possibly offend me? I’ll tell you. It’s people that are offended by the most meaningless things (what to call an evergreen tree in ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014