After nearly a month of silence on the Snowden issue, George Friedman, the founder and chairman of Stratfor has now written an article that has been published in the online magazine's Geopolitical Weekly column.
Besides the history that makes the NSA what it is today, Mr Friedman raises some very interesting and valid points (italics are mine in each of the 3 blockquotes below):
'There are two major differences between the war on terror and the (covential) wars. First, there was a declaration of war in World War II (for example). Second, there is a provision in the Constitution that allows the president to suspend habeas corpus in the event of a rebellion...Neither of these conditions was put in place to justify NSA programs such as PRISM.'
So perhaps they should have been.
'The problem with the war on terror is that it has no criteria of success that is potentially obtainable. It defines no level of terrorism that is tolerable but has as its goal the elimination of all terrorism, not just from Islamic sources but from all sources. That is simply never going to happen and therefore, PRISM and its attendant programs will never end.'
The programs are, and will be, ongoing and never ending but we essentially knew that (or should have done).
'Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is charged with aiding an enemy that has never been legally designated. Anyone who might contemplate terrorism is therefore an enemy.'
And this is where we get the Mr Friedman's elegant perspective on the whole affair:
"Keeping the NSA in Perspective is republished with permission of Stratfor."
'So the critical question is whether the danger posed by terrorism is sufficient to justify indifference to the spirit of the Constitution, despite the current state of the law. If it is, then formally declare war or declare a state of emergency. The danger of PRISM and other programs is that the decision to build it was not made after the Congress and the president were required to make a clear finding on war and peace. That was the point where they undermined the Constitution, and the American public is responsible for allowing them to do so.'