In a statement on Monday, US Senator Al Franken (Democrat) said that he favors more transparency in national surveillance, but “I have a high level of confidence that it is used to protect us.” In a desperately needed and profoundly brilliant essay by the long time (Republican) columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks elaborates on the issues at stake, warning the public of the extremes to which individualism has drifted in our society.
Of course, how you see the case depends on what you bring to the seeing. Many would differ from Brooks and want to compare this case to that of Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the Pentagon Papers. But there is a key difference of much significance. As Time’s Adam Cohen notes, the Pentagon Papers revealed that the government had ramped up the war in Vietnam and lied to Congress and the public about it, which is clearly wrong. But in Snowden’s case, it’s still unclear whether the NSA’s spying was in fact legal