Snowden has raised vital privacy questions

If Edward Snowden "faced the consequences" of his actions, he would spend the rest of his life in isolated torture or even be executed ("Edward Snowden's 'Amazing Race,'" June 28). It's no wonder he prefers a life on the run. Some call him a traitor; others praise him as one of the greatest American heroes since Paul Revere.

Perhaps Mr. Snowden decried the leaking of classified secrets years ago, yet when this NSA contract employee discovered the extent of the government's spying and data collecting, he took it upon himself to blow the whistle. And I'm glad he did. It is about time our lawmakers took a long hard look at how much data is being collected on Americans, how long it is stored, and for what purpose. Does the NSA need to know the books I check out from the library or what day I return from Ocean City? And the government is still building additional facilities to gather all details about our private lives.

If America were serious about national security, there would be no need for immigration reform. How can we have any real safety in this country if we allow so many foreigners to live in the shadows? If the government is so concerned about my telephone records, why aren't they concerned about the millions who have already evaded national security and have disappeared into the homeland? If our government really wanted to protect U.S. citizens, it wouldn't spread the welcome mat for the likes of Tzhokhar Tsarnaev and others from terrorist cultures.

For a nation to be safe, it must understand itself and understand the enemy. Sadly, 21st Century America can do neither. The consequences will be dire if this doesn't change. Perhaps Edward Snowden, where ever he may be holed up, has started a vital conversation our future may depend upon.

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

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