November 12, 2014
Patriotism for Smart People

Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen interview Edward Snowden in Moscow. Read the whole thing here. Snowden is a compelling figure, way above most of his detractors in both intelligence and love of country.

What defines patriotism, for me, is the idea that one rises to act on behalf of oneís country. As I said before, thatís distinct from acting to benefit the government ó a distinction thatís increasingly lost today. Youíre not patriotic just because you back whoeverís in power today or their policies. Youíre patriotic when you work to improve the lives of the people of your country, your community and your family. Sometimes that means making hard choices, choices that go against your personal interest.

People sometimes say I broke an oath of secrecy ó one of the early charges leveled against me. But itís a fundamental misunderstanding, because there is no oath of secrecy for people who work in the intelligence community. You are asked to sign a civil agreement, called a Standard Form 312, which basically says if you disclose classified information, they can sue you; they can do this, that and the other. And you risk going to jail. But you are also asked to take an oath, and thatís the oath of service. The oath of service is not to secrecy, but to the Constitution ó to protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Thatís the oath that I kept, that James Clapper and former NSA director Keith Alexander did not.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at November 12, 2014 01:38 PM
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