Letter: ‘Treason’ wrong word for what private company’s employee did

Why is it that our mainstream discussion of Edward Snowden’s release of top secret NSA activities has people talking about “treason” for his behavior? He may have broken an employee’s contractual obligation with Booz-Allen-Hamilton, his employer, but shouldn’t the discussion be about putting national secrets in the free market? Privatization of “the Commons” is the real problem. Not only is this supply-side scam raping the public treasury, but it’s allowing the self-profit maximization motive to sanction life and death choices.

Public, government employees may be held liable for disclosing secrets of which they have a clearance to be privy, and that could mean “treason,” but an employee of some privatized public enterprise is legally beholden only to his employer, whose punitive reprisal can be only a legal breach of contract and that employee’s contract termination.

Snowden was not a public employee, as I heard a law professor from University of Chicago contend just last night. Perpetrating this legal confusion will only steer public discussion from the real issue: Can we allow the financial markets  to control humanity?

— John S. Sonin