Re “Snowden’s weasel ways,” Opinion, Jan. 31
Granted, journalist and former CIA officer Frank Snepp deserves credit for blowing the whistle on how America behaved during its inglorious exit from Saigon in 1975. But for him to claim that “I was the Snowden of my day” is a bit of a stretch.
What Snepp revealed took a lot of courage, but most of us understand that when dealing with foreign governments — even our allies — American foreign policy has a long tradition of being two-faced, erratic and, at times, deceitful.
By contrast, leaker and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed government monitoring of innocent Americans in violation of the 4th Amendment. That is vastly more significant, and harmful, than Snepp’s Vietnam disclosures.
Snepp notes that the organizations to which Snowden handed over documents have withheld much of the information from publication out of national security concerns. He says Snowden abdicated moral responsibility by letting journalists decide what should be published.
Snowden gave away the materials to American journalists and gave them responsibility to determine what should be published, presumably with the advice and consent of their editors and whoever owns the media outlets.
Snepp wrote a book disclosing inside CIA information — probably hoping to make money from it — that could be read by anybody who paid the price for the book. He never got the CIA’s permission to do that, and the Supreme Court ordered him to surrender royalties from book sales.
Who’s the weasel here?