“Massive Swing” in Attitudes on Surveillance – Quinnipiac University National Poll
From today’s Politico Playbook:
American voters say 55-34 percent that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, rather than a traitor … In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45-40 percent the government’s anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 10, 2010, survey … when voters said 63-25 percent that such activities didn’t go far enough to adequately protect the country. Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. … There is little difference among Democrats and Republicans … Some of the largest growth in those concerned about the threat to civil liberties is among men and Republicans, groups historically more likely to be supportive of governmental anti-terrorism efforts.
“‘The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts [reflect] apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents,’ said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. ‘The fact that there is little difference now along party lines … is in itself unusual … [I]t would be naive to see these numbers as anything but evidence of a rethinking by the public about the tradeoffs between security and freedom.”
All this does is prove how ignorant people are of world affairs. Snowden is clearly a traitor. He took a security job under false pretenses and gathered the nation’s most sensitive intelligence for more than a year. He has taken that intelligence to such bastions of civil rights as: China and Russia and now plans to defect to Venezuela, one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. He didn’t take his evidence to Congress, which is what a real whistleblower would do, he took it to China and Russia. The Chinese not only conduct electronic and physical surveillance on their own people that makes the NSA look like amateurs, they hack into American companies more than a million times a day, and they are far more advanced in terms of cyberwar capabilities than the U.S. can even dream of being. The information that Snowden has revealed to the Chinese and Russians has revealed techniques and methods of U.S. intelligence gathering; it has probably also revealed the names and locations of our spies; it has seriously damaged the ability of the United States to protect itself from cyber attacks; and it has alerted terrorists to our surveillance capabilities and allowed them to change their operating procedures. Snowden is a sniveling little traitor, an agent provocateur, and ultimately a hypocrite who conspired to damage the U.S. He deserves nothing less than a long drop on a short rope.
I think they are all spying and hacking. I don’t think anybody is truly surprised by it. But I think the extent the U.S. has been shown to be spying on citizens and allies has surprised and disappointed people.
I’m not sure how I feel about Snowden. I do think our system of checks and balances have gotten a bit out of whack though – secret letters for information you can’t even mention or fight, the degree in which surveillance takes place.
It’s probably a healthy discussion to have, rather than it being all secret.
I don’t trust the government so much that I’m willing to leave things to secret courts using secret laws.