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The shifting attitudes toward Edward Snowden

What an irony! Just a few days ago the revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden were enough to cause President Barack Obama to admit we need an open discussion about eavesdropping on our own citizens. Now, Mr. Snowden is Public Enemy No. 1 and Mr. Obama's Justice Department is seeking his extradition for trial as a traitor ("Snowden stays put in Moscow," June 25).

The American public, Congress, the media and even the courts have been far too submissive in the face of our government's secret surveillance by the NSA and the CIA. Where is the outrage over the violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures as a result of these agencies' warrantless eavesdropping on us all?

I had thought that with the passing of the dark night of the Bush era, President Obama would push for his stated goal of greater government transparency after 2008. Obviously, that has not happened.

I can't speak to what harm Mr. Snowden may have done with his airing of the NSA's prying into Americans' phone records. What is clear is that his whistle-blowing has forced an embarrassed president's hand toward more openness. Whether this will be just another Obama intention pushed under the rug remains to be seen.

We have lost sight of something fundamental: The principles of our Constitution are, above all, what make this nation special and worthy of sacrifice. Certainly, we want to be safe from acts of terror — but not at the cost of the basic liberties that our soldiers from the American Revolution to World War II put their lives on the line for and died to uphold.

Bruce R. Knauff, Towson

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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