The Instigator
Hierocles
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
PeriodicPatriot
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Edward Snowden is an American Hero

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Hierocles
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,584 times Debate No: 44624
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Hierocles

Pro

As the PRO I stand to affirm the resolution:

"Edward Snowden is an American Hero"

Round 1) Acceptance, definitions, and interpretation

Round 2) Constructive(s) opening arguments

Round 3) Constructive(s)/Rebuttal/Extensions (no new evidence after round 3)

Round 4) Rebuttals (no new evidence)

Round 5) Rebuttals (no new arguments or evidence)

Resolution Interpretation & Definitions:

Edward Joseph Snowden: (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer specialist, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who disclosed top secret NSA documents to several media outlets.

American: A citizen of the United State of America, and or someone who champions principles cherished by most Western liberal democracies.

Hero: A person of virtuous character that risks and/or sacrifices life, limb, and/or livelihood to benefit others.

Is: third-person singular of be

an: Indefinite article; used when the noun may refer to one of several possibilities.

Due to the nature of the resolution, the debate should be evaluated as a 'more true than false question.'

The PRO needs to prove that it's MORE TRUE THAN FALSE that 'Edward Snowden is an American Hero.'
The CON needs to prove that it's MORE FALSE THAN TRUE that 'Edward Snowden is an American Hero.'
PeriodicPatriot

Con

I kindly accept ypur challenge.

My definitions and interpretations:

Please note that I will add keywords of my stance and what Edward Snowden did:

Treason-
the crime of betraying one's country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.

Villian- the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage.

Edward Snowden known for- Revealing details of classified United States government surveillance programs

Criminal charges- Theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person (June 2013).

I will prove why Edward Snowden is not an American Hero.
Debate Round No. 1
Hierocles

Pro

@P"Patriot, thank you for accepting this debate. May the best argumentation win!
I will make my case and then address concerns implied in my opponent"s round 1 response.

HARMS GOVERNMENT ACTIONS VIA NSA"s PRISM & RELATED PROGRAMS

HARM 1: Secret Powers Corrupt Government
a. Many government employees have used PRISM to directly spy on people they know:
"In one instance in 2005, a military member of the NSA queried six email addresses of a former American girlfriend - on the first day he obtained access to the data collection system."
REUTERS 2013<http://tinyurl.com...;

b. The U.S. Government has illegally collected information to persecute political opponents;
think Watergate, and the 2013 IRS scandal when the IRS targeted Republican PACs. Imagine if Nixon had the powers of the NSA. In the 1960s the FBI illegally spied on Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders in order to intimidate and discredit them.
WASHINGTON POST 2013: <http://tinyurl.com...;

c. The Obama Administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in US history; a handful of American journalists are in jail for exposing government corruption. This is a threat to a free press as enshrined in the First Amendment. When the free press is afraid to expose the truth it hurts all of us.
MOTHER JONES 2012: <http://tinyurl.com...;

d. Democracies only work if leaders feel accountable to the public. They will not feel accountable if they know they can cover up their policies by stamping a secret "national security" label.

HARM 2: Opaque Governance Undermines Democracy
A. People cannot choose how they want to steer the country if the government actively covers up information and actively misleads the public. It"s as if people believe they choose the country"s destination after they"ve been handed a fictional map.

B. The NSA Had Zero Government Oversight
b1. (Legislative)
No Congressional Oversight of the NSA
A member of the US Congress Intelligence Committee, Jim Himes said, "Possibility of 1000s of NSA violations unacceptable. Many intel comm members unaware of this report. In fact, we have been told no abuses." There is a key loophole in the Patriot Act and within the NSA"s procedures that allows the NSA to cover up mistakes and not share any of its operations with congress as long as those operations did not go directly through FISA.
TECH-DIRT 2013 <http://tinyurl.com...;
Furthermore, when a congressmen asked the then NSA chief, James Clapper about the extent of the NSA"s activities he lied. Some want to convict him of perjury for lying under congressional oath.
<;

b2. (Judicial)
The FISA Court is Illegitimate
The FISA Court named after the Foreign Intelligence Security Act, runs counter to fundamental principles that undergird common law in a Western liberal democracy. First, before the Snowden revelations, there was no one representing the defence to provide arguments for why the warrantless phone tap or data collection should not take place. The government was the only party represented and acted as judge, jury, and prosecution. Secondly, all of the evidence and results of the hearing are secret. It is impossible to appeal or scrutinize the process because it"s all secret. A secret trial in a secret court that leans on entirely secret evidence without a defense present is not a legitimate court; they are the seeds of totalitarianism, and they must be snipped in the bud ASAP.
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION 2013: <http://tinyurl.com...;

HARM 3: Data Overload Undermines Our Security
a. Following the constitutional framework forces law enforcement to focus their resources where there is actual evidence of an attack. Only once law enforcement has a reason to search a suspect should they seek a warrant from a judge to conduct searches when necessary. The NSA"s data bulk did not give American intel" failed to prevent Benghazi, the Boston Bombing, the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, and the series of mass shootings that have plagued our towns since the Patriot Act was passed in 2001. Furthermore, the NSA"s program has probably not prevented a single terror attack. The NSA wants to claim that they prevented 50+ attacks, but cannot provide any evidence to support such a claim. Indeed, evidence is mounting that directly undermines their claim.
PRO PUBLICA 2013: <http://tinyurl.com...;
WALL STREET JOURNAL 2013: <http://tinyurl.com...;

HARM 4: NSA"s Warrantless Data Collection Violates the Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Fourth Amendment, US Constitution)
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata -- phone records of the time and numbers called without any disclosure of content -- apparently violates privacy rights."I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. "Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment."
CNN 2013: <http://tinyurl.com...;
Edward Snowden"s Actions Were Pivotal

A) Americans Required Hard Evidence to Challenge the Constitutionality of the NSA"s Programmes in the Courts
NEW YORKER, 2013 <http://tinyurl.com...;

B) We Need to be Aware of a Government Program in Order to Have a Debate About It
Since Snowden revealed the NSA"s abuses and spurred public backlash

C) Congressmen Could NOT Speak Out Because They Did NOT Know About the NSA"s Program and the Few that Did had an Incentive to Stay Silent
a. Congressmen and women did not know
b. Former NSA chief lied to congress
c. The Few that knew are the largest receivers of campaign donations from the Arms/Intelligence Industry; Thereby Having a Conflict of Interest in Having an Incentive to Make Sure These Programs Never Come Under Scrutiny

D) Others Were Too Afraid
The Obama administration"s unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers and undue influence in the judiciary made it very unlikely that others had the courage to speak out. Edward Snowden"s courageous choice made reform possible.

I. Edward Snowden is An American Hero
(I"m running near my character limit, I will extend these arguments and provide further evidence in my round 3 response. According to the rules I laid out in round 1, both sides can introduce case extensions and new evidence in round 3.)

A. Edward Snowden"s Actions Enabled Americans to Curtail the NSA and Prevent Further Harm
a. We Needed Edward Snowden to Provide Hard Evidence of the NSA
b. We Needed to Know about the NSA to Sue the NSA,
c. The Outcomes of this Litigation Will and Has Curtailed the NSA"s Power
d. Curtailing the NSA Boosts Our Democracy

B. Edward Snowden Sacrificed His Livelihood and Risked His Life & Freedom in Order to Shine a Light on the NSA"s Misdeeds. Snowden left behind a girl friend, a home in Hawaii, and a six figure job with benefits to be hunted by the CIA for the rest of his life so that we would know that the Government was spying on us.

C. Shining a Light on the NSA Will Enable Reform and Save Democracy

II. Edward Snowden Champions American Values

A. Transparent Government

B. Free Speech

C. Constitutional Limits on Government Power

D. Non-Violent Civil Disobedience (More on this later...)

III. Courage is Contagious
A. People like Edward Snowden show that it"s possible to stand up and speak truth to power
B. He is a Model for Others that Hope for a Better & More Transparent Government
___________

If you read my opponent"s round 1 response, it implies that he thinks Edward Snowden is a criminal who should be imprisoned for treason. This draconian point of view requires some unpacking.

A) Mala Prohbitia v. Mala in Se
In common law there is a useful distinction known as mala prohibita versus mala in se. Mala prohibita is latin for "wrong because it"s prohibited," referring to actions that are merely prohibited, but not morally wrong (i.e. "no store may sell berries on Sundays"). An action that is mala in se "morally wrong in itself" prohibits actions which are morally wrong (i.e. "Thy Shall Not Murder").

Snowden"s alleged act, at worst, is merely mala prohibita. There is zero evidence that his actions harmed another human being in any way. Indeed, his actions upheld the higher laws enshrined in the US Constitution that protect us from government abuse and remind the government that those classified documents Snowden released belonged to "We The People" in the first place.

B) Martin Luther King, Jr.: "An injust law is no law at all"
1. The Law Edward Snowden Allegedly Violated Violates the Constitution and the Freedom of Information Act

C) The Accused is Innocent Until Proven Guilty in a Court of Law
1. My opponent"s view that Edward Snowden is a criminal does not hold weight in an ethical nor strictly legal sense. I have made my case for the justness of Snowden"s actions if they are evaluated in a ethical mala in se framework. Yet I would posit that his actions are still pure even if they are evaluated under a mala prohibita framework.
2. Edward Snowden is NOT GUILTY of Espionage. Snowden was not working for a rival government.
3. Edward Snowden is NOT GUILTY of Treason. Snowden has never attacked the US or any of its representatives.
4. Edward Snowden is NOT GUILTY of "theft." Edward Snowden did not steal anything. His act is a form of free expression that is protected under the First Amendment.
PeriodicPatriot

Con

PeriodicPatriot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Hierocles

Pro

My opponent has chosen to forfeit her response, therefore all of my arguments stand and I have proven my case, uncontested, that Edward Snowden is indeed an American Hero. I"ll now proceed round three extensions:

Edward Snowden is An American Hero

A. Edward Snowden"s Actions Enabled Americans to Curtail the NSA and Prevent Further Harm
a. We Needed Edward Snowden to Provide Hard Evidence of the NSA
There were multiple pending lawsuits against the NSA brought by the ACLU and other privacy advocates, however many were put on hold due to a lack of hard evidence. Edward Snowden"s leak provided that evidence enabling all of these court actions to move forward.
Evidence: Mother Jones 2013

b. The Outcomes of this Litigation Will and Has Curtailed the NSA"s Power
Due to the new debate on privacy that Edward Snowden"s revelations has sparked, and current litigation enable by Snowden"s leak, the NSA is being forced to adhere to new limits.
Evidence: Fox News 2014

c. Curtailing the NSA Boosts Our Democracy
If people fear the government will access any and all of their online communication it will decrease the amount of discourse and decrease the likelihood that people will feel comfortable airing unpopular opinions out of fear of professional retaliation. By limiting the NSA"s power, it increases discourse and the likelihood that people will be able to participate in the marketplace of ideas.
Evidence: National Review 2013

B. Edward Snowden sacrificed his livelihood and risked his life & freedom in order to shine a light on the NSA"s misdeeds. Snowden left behind a girl friend, a home in Hawaii, and a six figure job with benefits to be hunted by the CIA for the rest of his life so that we would know that the Government was spying on us.

II. Edward Snowden Champions American Values

A. Transparent Government: Forcing this debate has curtailed the NSA and made us aware of programs that were once secret; thereby making the government more transparent.

B. Free Expression: Edward Snowden"s leak to The Guardian & The Washington Post is a form of free speech and supports a Free Press. His actions are protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Evidence: CNN 2013

C. Constitutional Limits on Government Power: Judge ruled that the NSA violated the fourth amendment.
Evidence: NPR 2013

D. Non-Violent Civil Disobedience: From time to time, it is essential to break some norms in order to speak truth to power. Civil rights leaders had to break laws, or rather the unlawful selective application of some laws, in order to protest racism in the deep South and Henry David Thoreau once protested American imperialism by refusing to pay a local tax.

III. Courage is Contagious
A. People like Edward Snowden show that it"s possible to stand up and speak truth to power. Bradley Manning"s case and the smear campaign against Julian Assange proves that whistleblowers are getting unfair treatment. Snowden and Greenwald are models of civil disobedience that think strategically in order to remain free and stay in the debate.

Respectfully Submitted,
Hierocles
PeriodicPatriot

Con


Actually, I didn't want to do this debate. I was just suggesting that I wanted to. I also had a pile of school work and couldn't find time. So anyway, I'm not arguing
Debate Round No. 3
Hierocles

Pro

In round 1 my opponent said, "I kindly accept your challenge," and further declared " I will prove why Edward Snowden is not an American Hero."

If my opponent is choosing to forfeit the entire debate, then that's her choice. Therefore, seeing that all of my arguments stand - VOTE PRO.
PeriodicPatriot

Con

PeriodicPatriot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Hierocles

Pro

My opponent has chosen to forfeit her response. She still has one more chance to respond if she wishes to rebut any of my points.

Seeing that she has failed to respond thus far, all of my arguments stand. Therefore, you must vote PRO.

Respectfully Submitted,
Hierocles
PeriodicPatriot

Con

PeriodicPatriot forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Hierocles 3 years ago
Hierocles
ROUND 3 EVIDENCE LINKS (Citations are already in my round 3 debate text)
(Due to a technical error, my evidence did not past through on my round 3 post.)

Evidence: Mother Jones 2013 <http://www.motherjones.com...;

Evidence: Fox News 2014 <http://www.foxnews.com...;

Evidence: National Review 2013
<http://www.nationalreview.com...;
<http://www.democraticunderground.com...;

<http://www.nydailynews.com...;

CNN 2013 <http://www.cnn.com...;

Evidence: NPR 2013 <http://www.npr.org...;

<http://thoreau.eserver.org...;
<http://www.uscrossier.org...;
Posted by jacky225 3 years ago
jacky225
Guy, Guys, Guys, Its obvious Snowden is like Super Hero NO.1 against the scumbag NSA. Sure, his methods may be considered illegal, but dudes, being a vigilante isn't exactly a lawful work. Plus there is a difference between a traitor who releases info to the enemy, and one who releases info to his own people.
Posted by PeriodicPatriot 3 years ago
PeriodicPatriot
I want to accept, but I guess I don't match your age or critica?
Posted by Hierocles 3 years ago
Hierocles
In round 1, after you accept, feel free to offer your own counter-definitions, counter-interpretations, and counter-framework for evaluating the debate.

Let me know if a particular rules is stopping you from accepting, and I will tweak the rules to a state that are agreeable to both parties.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 3 years ago
donald.keller
HieroclesPeriodicPatriotTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con FF'd every round, losing him Arguments and Conduct. Pro used sources to back him up, and without a single round, it's hard for Con to compete with that. Spelling was fair.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
HieroclesPeriodicPatriotTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits. Arguments and sources for the fact that Pro actually showed up for this debate, while Con, basically, did not. All of Pro's arguments stand unrebutted. S&G was tied because at least what little Con posted was intelligible. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.