The oath of office for any federal employee (excepting the President) reads as follows:
“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
With this in mind, I have a hard time figuring out what part of this oath the NSA leaker violated… Bob Schiefer from CBS news appears to think Snowden should give himself up, and start making himself comfortable in the generous accommodations that are available in American Cuba…
I’m sure that is something Snowden is considering, yet Maybe Mr. Schiefer’s argument needs a little more consideration to be sure that justice would be accomplished with this approach. Lets consider a few things:
1. Which part of Snowden’s oath was violated?
The Federal oath begins “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Are there foreign enemies of the Constitution that were empowered by the disclosure of the fact that the Federal govt. was collecting most of the phone data from virtually every American ? Possibly, but I think they already had an understanding that this was happening. Were there Domestic enemies who would benefit from the release of the same information? On the contrary, Domestic enemies who were violating the Constitution were exposed as a consequence of Snowden’s actions.
The 4th Amendment reads:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Clearly, the NSA program does not fulfill the high standards required to surveil virtually each and every American citizen in such a way as Snowden has disclosed is happening. Thus, at least in the first part of Snowden’s oath, he is being faithful. For the rest of the oath, only Snowden can know. Perhaps the oath people who are NSA defenders look to for a violation of… is the Non-disclosure agreement that Snowden undoubtedly signed when he started his job?
With this, they do have a point- and I am somewhat torn. It does represent a violation of one’s contract. I lean however towards the fulfillment of the oath to the Constitution as vastly more important, and even as the Supremacy clause in the said Constitution spells out as sort of the Supreme oath. Thus, I would even forgive him for his violation of his word to the NSA, in keeping his word to the Constitution.
2. Did Snowden commit treason? (as many high-level officials claim)
This is much easier to answer/explain.
Did Snowden commit “treason?” …The definition of treason can be found in the Constitution Article3 Section3, where it says in part:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Surely, Snowden did not bear arms or give aid/comfort to any enemies of America- rather, he exposed enemies who were operating within our own government! So let’s stop the hyperventilating and get on to the business of purging the wholesale violators of the Constitution from our government! Let’s get back to being the great republic, as envisioned by our founders.
3. Lastly, the question has to be answered, who is the enforcement arm of the Constitution?
Well, of course it is the State governments of the 50 states! They are the societies who had originally entered into the Union, and are ultimately the representatives of the people who have been assaulted by the egregious actions of the Federal government. The State governments need to start an investigation of the Federal government and demand from our Senators a full accounting of the ever-growing evidence of federal lawlessness.
We need to start nullifying each and EVERY incident of federal overreach. The Feds need to start being so busy trying to maintain their current level of overreach that they are unable to proceed any further! There needs to be a State Department of Nullification in each of the 50 states, and this needs to be a national movement from here on out. If we have not seen enough lawlessness to convince ourselves that DC needs to be pruned, then we have not been paying attention!