As the United States government continues its very public game of Whack-a-Mole, trying to bring Edward Snowden to justice, the global extradition watch is making the situation far worse for the President and the NSA.
I understand that Snowden is accused of a very serious crime that has likely already had some even more serious repercussions. However, in many ways, the ongoing efforts to arrest him and bring in back to the U.S. is making a government that already looks terrible, look far worse.
First, to our frenemies like Russia, China and even some in South America, our ongoing search is exposing how one man of very little means can turn the U.S. government inside out. While I don’t visit many global media sites, I have to imagine that one man’s ability to evade the most powerful government in the world is making for some interesting international headlines.
Along with the notoriety that Snowden receives with this search, so does the story that goes with it. Many more people are learning why the United States government is chasing this man and how many Americans consider the issue to be a major scandal. That can’t be the kind of PR that the President wants making news around the world.
Related to the above issue is the fact that the search for Snowden is stretching the news cycle for the NSA scandal here in the states. The fact that Senator Mark Udall’s scathing letter accusing the NSA of lying about how well the privacy of Americans is protected is evidence that the story is not going away.
Let’s be honest, as Americans, we do not have the longest attention spans. However egregious, the NSA scandal had a shot to slip to the backburner in many minds across the country. But that simply cannot happen if every day we are reminded how this one man is escaping the long arm of the law around the world.
Senator Mark Udall may be the leading example of another potential problem for the Obama administration. As the search for Snowden continues and stays in the headlines, many Democratic lawmakers, especially those facing re-election next fall, are finding that the right side of this issue for voters is the wrong side of the issue for the President.
With that contrast, I can’t imagine many campaign stops featuring the President and Sen. Udall standing next to one another, rallying voters. I realize that is somewhat of a longshot, but it’s not unheard of. Many presidents have found themselves more of a campaign liability during their second term than a benefit to their own party.
Finally, the more that the world’s most powerful nation fruitlessly chases this one man, the more sympathy he will build up for his own case. I know some lawmakers see Snowden as a traitor, but more and more people are seeing this whistleblower as a hero and not the enemy. Of and when he is brought back to the U.S., his trial will be incredible theater.
I realize that this is not the easiest problem in the world for President Obama to solve. However, the continued high profile chase of Edward Snowden is not doing him or his government any favors.
If secrets are so valuable as to mandate the search for this one man, then maybe the search itself should become much more secretive.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.