Malte Spitz and Hans-Christian Ströbele write: Almost every day, new information is released about how American and British intelligence agencies have monitored governments, embassies and the communications of whole societies. These revelations have provided us with a deep and terrifying insight into the uncontrolled power of intelligence agencies.
They show that data collection is no longer about targeted acquisition of information to avert threats, and it’s certainly not about the dangers of “international Islamist terrorism.” After all, which terrorist is going to call or text Chancellor Angela Merkel?
All of our current knowledge about this surveillance is thanks to one man, Edward J. Snowden. Without him, Ms. Merkel would still be a target for monitoring, and surveillance of German diplomats, businessmen and ordinary citizens would be continuing, undetected.
Without Mr. Snowden, there wouldn’t have been months of discussions in the German Bundestag, the European Parliament and the American Congress about better protection of citizens’ private and commercial communications. Mr. Snowden is paying a high price for having opened the eyes of the world. He can no longer lead a normal life.
He acted in an emergency situation to stop and prevent terrible things. According to both German and American law, the government can grant immunity when criminal laws are violated in order to defend the paramount right to freedom. Publicly announcing a crime should not be a crime. The United States has long had laws to protect whistle-blowers from punishment — and we Germans aspire to have such laws.
According to recent surveys by ARD, a German TV station, 60 percent of Germans see Mr. Snowden as a hero and only 14 percent as a criminal. They know his courageous revelations were intended to protect freedom and the values that we share with America. [Continue reading…]