Technically, Edward Snowden Isn’t a Whistleblower, here’s why…

There are a lot of arguments circulating that would paint the infamous Edward Snowden as a whistleblower.

Snowden, as an employee of the national security consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, came into contact with information that confirmed his employer (and the government of the United States) was engaging in a mass domestic surveillance program of US citizen. More importantly, and this is the kicker, the U.S. Government’s repeat violation of the fourth amendment to the constitution involving the collection of information on millions of innocent people without a warrant or probable cause.

Unless something changes, Snowden is not considered a whistleblower. Edward Snowden is a guy that exposed information that failed to meet his own standards of propriety. What the NSA is doing is exceedingly unethical, it sadly isn’t corrupt, illegal or wrong – at least to all three branches of the United States Government – thanks to The Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act  was passed in the weeks following 9/11, and was designed to enhance federal anti-terrorism investigations. In 2011, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee weighed new concerns over the sweeping nature of the domestic spying using Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The section allows the FBI to seize without a warrant “any tangible things” like documents, or order a private company to turn over data, so long as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) approves the order – which we know was no safe guard at all.

FISA approves every pass.

So far Edward Snowden released little information that would provide him designation or even protection under the law as a whistleblower. Under the Intelligence Community Whistle-blower Protection Act, Snowden would have had to reveal illegal activity. If it was agreed that the information released was illegal, then for him to have continued protection, he would have had to have shared that with someone with the proper security clearances – which he also failed to do.

What Snowden did do was confirm what the news already reported in 2011 when Section 215 was raising concerns including, but not exclusive to, it’s suspected use to obtain cellular phone data on innocent Americans. Senator Ron Wyden told TIME, “When you read that opinion, the classified opinion — that I can’t say a word about — and you set it down next to the text of the law, there is a big gap,” he explained. “That is what this issue is all about.”  Followed by Senator Tom Udall saying, “Innocent Americans are being swept up in this.”

While Snowden doesn’t qualify as a whistleblower, as of June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors are hoping that charging him with espionage will stick. Regardless that Snowden was not part of an institutional effort by a government and did not gather the documents with some sort of military purpose. He admittedly felt that Americans should know that their information was being collected, because as Snowden said, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things [surveillance on its citizens]… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.”

Whatever Edward Snowden is, what all may come of his leak is a renewed interest in the inherit violations against civil liberties that The Patriot Act’s surveillance provisions provide. Maybe, with the power of the Internet and the democracy it brings, this discussion will turn into an action that will over turn an unconstitutional and Orwellian law.

If you’re curious how the leak is being felt in Canada…

The moment I realized I had forced all my friends to watch AfroSquad, I knew that talking about Internet culture was where I was meant to be. Between reddit, Nat&Marie and eating junk food, there's just enough time for my personal blog That is all. That is it. Oh. Instagram: Karmacake

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