. getty .
By now it is no longer news that twenty-nine year old Edward Snowden divulged information about the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program, and the US government is currently on the hunt for him.
As opinions remain divided over whether what he did was wrong or right; with some calling him a hero and others a traitor, I think it is important for us to consider all sides to the story. Before we start casting stones and taking sides, let’s lay down all the facts and place this issue under an objectively clear microscope unstained by sentiments and political bias.
Let’s consider the position taken by the NSA and juxtapose it with the fourth and ninth amendment of the United States Constitution. Now, although the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution does not specifically talk about a right to privacy, it did talk about “the right of the people to be secure…against unreasonable searches…” Also, the ninth amendment addresses the protection of rights not specifically laid out in the constitution, and this includes the right to privacy.
Hence, with the government on a campaign to hunt down this man, it is only fair to consider whether what he did is actually a crime and if it is something befitting of extradition. More so, although Snowden’s action was considered one of the biggest leaks in the history of the United States by former military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg (Daniel Ellsberg was responsible for revealing the secrets of the Vietnam War through the so-called Pentagon Papers of 1971), and while former Vice-president, Dick Cheney and House Speaker, John Boehner has termed Snowden a traitor, it is crucial to ask the all-important question: was it right for the Intelligence Agency to carry out such surveillance on Americans without their consent?
Bear in mind that the US PATRIOT ACT of 2001 wasn’t a secret, and although the NSA claims that the program thwarted about fifty terror plots, that still does not change the fact that it was done without the consent of the American people.
Original content by Lysious Ogolo, Howard University '15.