Many Americans, particularly conservatives and libertarians are outraged upon discovering their government has authorized a secret surveillance program so invasive, that online browsing, emails and your phone conversations may be monitored.
The whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who revealed the NSA program PRISM, to Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, has been touted as a hero by many, including figures on the left and right such as Glenn Beck and Michael Moore. A petition on the White House website calling for the pardon of Mr. Snowden has accumulated over 61,000 signatures since Sunday, indicating a growing number of Americans find his actions honorable. But not Erick Erickson.
The editor-in-chief of RedState.com made his views known via Twitter recently saying, “Snowden could have gone to Senator Paul, instead he went to China.” Erickson even went so far as to tweet this video from Monty Python and the Holy Grail depicting “Brave Sir Robin” running away from danger.
The mocking of Snowden, (who briefly fled to Hong Kong and is believed to be seeking asylum in Iceland now) continued with Erickson tweeting:
“Remember that time the Founders signed the Declaration of Independence and fled to China? #patriots #brave #snowden”
Erickson’s contempt for Snowden’s actions seem to stem from his belief that he “fled to Communist China” and didn’t report the leaks to a government official. This begs the question: what are Erickson’s priorities?
Despite claiming he opposes the PRISM surveillance, he says at RedState that he doesn’t blame the president for “trying to keep us safe”, only to later write, “We cannot trust the government.”
It doesn’t occur to Erickson that perhaps an inidividual privy to the egregious violations of privacy this government has conducted would be hesitant to seek the aid or counsel of elected officials and instead sought to make this a nonpartisan issue that would unite Americans against an encroaching government. Furthermore, the Obama Administration’s history of targetting whistleblowers and journalists doesn’t warrant such individuals to seek asylum in Erickson’s view.
On one hand, Erickson finds the survelliance of Verizon customers “may have gone too far,” on the other hand, he believes we should trust this administration to treat Snowden fairly.
Interestingly, he was not so gracious to those defending the IRS scandal as merely being an “overreach”, rather than an inevitable result of the IRS existing.
Erickson claims Snowden not only leaked compromising information that poses a risk to national security but that he leaked this information “to a man and organization deeply hostile to the United States before himself fleeing to a communist nation, praising that nation’s support for free speech.”
Again, the fact that his own government is guilty of suppressing free speech and violating the Fourth Amendment seems irrelevant to Erickson. He conveniently never corrorabates these claims regarding national securitiy leaks or Greenwald’s and The Guardian’s history of being “hostile to America” but did find the time to write that Snowden’s actions were not courageous but “of sabotage and ego whereby he decided to be judge, jury an executioner of an intelligence program that violated his sensibilities but maybe not the constitution.”
If Erickson is unsure as to whether such invasive surveillance measures violate the Constitution, the only logical conclusion is that he finds the strictures of the Fourth Amendment to be negotiable. His tendency to condemn the IRS scandal, (and rightfully so) while mocking supporters of former congressman Ron Paul and civil libertarians (who’ve long predicted the Patriot Act would lead to such scandals) suggests his opposition to authoritarian government yields when it potentially stymies his favorite big government program: the national security state.
Always quick to denounce civil libetarians as simply being Left sympathizers, (while ironically siding with those who claim the president was just “trying to keep us safe”) Erickson has no choice but to portray these scandals as being the result of poor leadership, rather than admittting his support for policies such as the Patriot Act were the catalyst for them or that his ire for Ron Paul supporters has been mistaken.
Attacking whistleblowers who expose government abuse but may threaten the tenets of his ideology suggests Erickson is comfortable with defending the Constitution when it’s convenient. Thankfully, there are Americans who will defend it when it’s not.