Thursday, June 13, 2013

Irony and the NSI

Trey Smith

Aside from a plethora of somewhat scam-based ads, the radio station I regularly listen to also plays numerous public service announcements (PSA) in the wee hours of the morning. One such PSA concerns the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI). Unfamiliar with the NSI? Here is some of the information you will find on the website of the Department of Homeland Security.
Prompt and detailed reporting of suspicious activities can help prevent violent crimes or terrorist attacks. If you see suspicious activity, please report it to your local police department. Local law enforcement officers can respond quickly. Once they assess the situation, they can obtain additional support.

Citizens should always call local law enforcement. If you see something suspicious, please call local law enforcement.

If there is a life threatening emergency, please call 911.

When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:
  • Brief description of the activity
  • Date, time and location of the activity
  • Physical identifiers of anyone you observed
  • Descriptions of vehicles
  • Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone
  • Your name and contact information (optional)
But what should a person do IF he/she suspects the government itself is engaged in criminal activity? You can't very well report it to the "authorities" and think that they will take it seriously. If an investigation even is launched -- and that often does not happen -- chances are great that it will be whitewashed and covered up.

This is the situation that Edward Snowden found himself in. He believed that the NSA was engaging in behavior that ran counter to the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution. It made no sense to lodge his complaints up the chain of command because the higher ups had already approved of the activities. So, Snowden did about the ONLY thing he could do in this situation: He aired his complaints in the media.

Now those same higher ups and most members of the establishment are calling for his head on a platter. He has been labeled a traitor and a defector (since he left the US before going public).

I find this whole situation wildly ironic. Here we have the federal government urging citizens to report suspicious activities under the guise of preventing crime and/or apprehending criminals. Edward Snowden did just that and yet he is being treated like the most wanted man in America!

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