Welcome to the age of un-innocence where no one is excluded from Obama et al.’s sweeping spy tactics. Two formidable whistleblowers have unselfishly exposed America’s deepest, darkest secrets that make even octogenarian and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner blush. Recently U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning was convicted of twenty charges for sending hundreds of thousands of government and diplomatic secrets to the anti-secrecy website, WikiLeaks. American and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden remains on the run for revealing details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs. Look at these two fine young contestants for TIME’s Person of the Year:
- U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning: The Oklahoman disclosed to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange classified information associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret tidbits about the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Manning was convicted on five counts of espionage, five charges of theft, a computer fraud charge, and a set of military infractions but was found not guilty on charges he aided the enemy. He could face up to 136 years in jail.
- Edward Snowden: The high school dropout and wannabe Geek-squad underling disclosed information about massive, high-level surveillance programs and divulged the structure and targets of a King Kong-size spying operation named PRISM. He also let loose information that showed the United States was engaged in eavesdropping on its allies, namely, you and I, which brings new meaning to the phrase, “Keep your enemies close and your friends closer.” The criminal complaint charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person. The latter two offenses fall under the U.S. Espionage Act and carry penalties of fines and up to 10 years in prison. The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but shockingly, President Vladimir Putin has respectfully rejected that request.
It looks to me like a tie, so we will give TIME’s Person of the Year honor to “The Whistleblower,” because no other class of persons has so immediately affected a country’s economic, legal and political landscape to the extent that Manning and Snowden have. What issue could have united so many So Called Conservatives, liberals, CNN watchers and Fox News Channel viewers? The common denominator is “The Whistleblower,” an individual who wants to protect Americans from their own untrustworthy government.
The almighty whistleblower even had the White House whistling a different tune in the blink of an eye, as President Obama went from promising to “protect whistleblowers” to removing pro-informer sentiment from Change.gov to threatening trade sanctions against anyone who granted asylum to Edward Snowden. And people wonder why Obama’s slogan is “Change.”