Everything has a cost. Ask yourself, should you give up your personal freedoms for the safety of your family and your country?
I say, absolutely.
But what happens when the government’s biggest secrets become public knowledge? Such was the case with Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old who will go down in infamy as the man responsible for some of the biggest NSA leaks in history.
Snowden, a former employee of the CIA, brazenly leaked classified information by reportedly loading it onto a computer drive and releasing it to the American public. He then cowardly hopped a plane to Hong Kong, and is seeking refuge among nations that will not extradite him to the U.S. to face criminal charges for his acts of espionage.
Snowden claims he grew disgusted with our Big Brother nation, and so he decided to release national security records of government intelligence requests, such as a request by the NSA that Verizon give it the details of the conversations of millions of customers.
Snowden is a traitor and a danger to our national security. His callous disregard for his duty as an American citizen may have caused irreparable damage to our security and our secrets. I hope he is extradited as soon as possible.
If Snowden is a traitor, what about journalists who report on and repeat these leaks? The Obama administration and the Justice Department have come under fire in recent weeks for seizing phone records of reporters for the Associated Press and one from Fox News.
Should repeating the leaks also subject you to prosecution, even if you’re only “reporting”?
These types of debates have united lawmakers on both the left and right and are healthy for our democracy, but our top priority must be the safety and security of our nation.
Lastly, in a follow-up to my column last week about overhauling the Long Island Power Authority and replacing it with a private operator, PSE&G, I wanted to reiterate one key point: LIPA, as it currently stands, must go. With hurricane season now upon us, the time is now, before, God forbid, our region suffers another devastating storm. I strongly urge the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass Governor Cuomo’s bill to overhaul LIPA in the coming weeks.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.