Jacology: Espionage

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(KPLR) – In Monday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at what happens when leaks to the media are defined as espionage.

Former national security agency analyst Edward Snowden is on the run, because he revealed that the U.S. government has been collecting massive amounts of data on your phone calls, e-mails and internet use for the past decade. Secretary of State John Kerry calls Snowden a traitor. Snowden may actually be more of a hero.

What Snowden did, was reveal the government has been collecting mega-data and information on everything from people's cell phone calls and e-mails to postings on Facebook and Twitter. This is something that had been done in secret under the Bush and Obama administrations. Its information we have a right to know about.

Claims that  Snowden has somehow hurt American national security are nonsense. Every would-be terrorist and terror cell world-wide has known for years that their electronic chatter was being vacuumed up. This is not news to our enemies. What is news is that Americans didn’t know about it. We were also kept in the dark about the super-secret Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act Courts, FISA courts, authorizing all of this.

This is espionage only in that embarrasses the U.S. government. It reveals that surveillance takes place not only abroad, but also here at home. It reveals that not only foreign terrorists, but average Americans citizens were being eavesdropped upon. It reveals nothing about intelligence operations. It reveals everything about a government keeping tabs on its own citizens.

So if Snowden's in the right, why's he on the run? Because when Army Private Bradley Manning leaked information about U.S. helicopters killing Reuters journalists and about a drone strike that ending up killing dozens of kids, Manning ended up stripped naked and kept in solitary confinement without a trial. He'd like to avoid that.

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.

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Email: charles.jaco@tvstl.com