Dear Mr. President,
Yesterday Bradley Manning was convicted of espionage, theft and Computer Fraud and Abuse. Unclear about the latter, I looked it up. Sure enough, it’s a crime to intentionally access a computer and obtain information from any department or agency of the United States. Guilty as charged. But there’s also a section of the act that makes “distribution of malicious code” a crime. Stuxnet and Flame was code inserted into Iran’s computer systems to slow down their nuclear program. Isn’t that a crime or doesn’t it apply to the government? I looked up “espionage” in my dictionary: “The act or practice of spying or using spies to obtain secret information.” Manning was guilty of that, too: the videos documenting war crimes—the helicopter gunship pilots laughing as they gunned down innocent Iraqi civilians—was classified; so were the war logs that revealed a far different picture of the wars than the generals and politicians presented. Then, this morning, the Guardian revealed “XKeyscore,” the NSA program that collects nearly everything from everybody and allows any analyst to sift through it without a court order or oversight. Edward Snowden claimed he could have gone through your emails—including the content—had he wanted to. Rep. Rogers (R-MI) said Snowden was lying but it turns out Snowden was right; XKeyscore is Stasi on Steroids, a massive espionage program and a clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Or doesn’t that apply either? And isn’t hacking into other countries’ computer networks, the G-20, the EU, the UN, a violation of the Espionage Act? Or is government above the law? In The Audacity of Hope you wrote: “the people’s instincts for fair play and common sense…” My instinct is that the government is not playing fair when it sends a whistleblower to prison for life and lets those who lie, torture, kill, violate the Constitution, domestic and international law and human rights go unpunished. Rep. Rogers and Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD) issued a joint statement yesterday on Manning’s conviction: “Justice has been served today, Pfc. Manning harmed our national security, violated the public’s trust, and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes.” Manning’s conviction for revealing war crimes and government malfeasance was not justice but a travesty of justice. The traitors are not the Mannings and Snowdens who reveal the truth but the Rogers and Ruppersbergers, the Feinsteins and Clappers who lie and cover up the crimes of our government.