SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO-AM) - Recent revelations of the scope of the NSA's online and phone surveillance of Americans have been shocking. Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, says the NSA has the ability to intercept your emails, passwords, phone records and credit card information. He's also accusing the NSA of routinely lying to Congress about the scope of surveillance.
News of the NSA's domestic data gathering comes amid scandals involving the IRS and EPA. Both agencies are accused of releasing confidential information to left-leaning groups in violation of federal law. The IRS is facing additional accusations of targeting and stonewalling conservative groups that had applied for 501(c)4 status.
There have also been questions about the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records. There are allegations Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress when asked if the Justice Department was prosecuting reporters. At a minimum, the Justice Department appears to be engaged in intimidating the press and media.
I've been in such stunned disbelief of recent events that's its difficult to articulate my outrage. We're seeing a consistent and undeniable pattern of gross abuse of power in multiple agencies of the federal government.
Members of Congress appear ready to sweep everything under the rug.
The ranking Democrat on the committee leading the investigation of the IRS says the matter is closed. Representative Elijah Cummings told CNN's State of the Union, "“Based upon everything I’ve seen the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on, to be frank with you.”
Cummings remind me of Lt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun. As a fireworks factory is exploding directly behind him, Drebin assures passerby, "Move on, nothing to see here!"
Meanwhile, Republican Representative Peter King is more interested in prosecuting whistleblowers than investigating abuses at the NSA. King told Fox News that Snowden's leaks had risked American lives.
King released a written statement saying, "If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date.”
That's complete hogwash. Edward Snowden doesn't pose any threat to the safety, security or liberty of Americans. The only threat he poses are to those who abuse the trust that has been placed in them.
Rep. King believes Edward Snowden is an enemy of the state. However, Snowden is far more likely to be considered a patriot by many millions of Americans... including this one.
Greg Belfrage is heard mornings from 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM.