One important thing the ongoing Snowden NSA revelations should make clear is that large-scale conspiracies do exist. There may have been bits and pieces leaking out and some intelligent guesses about the surveillance of Americans prior to Snowden, but without his courageous actions, we would still be largely in the dark about the illegal, unconstitutional and outrageous actions of our spy agencies.
It bothers me when people blithely lump all “conspiracy nuts” together. It has been an effective tactic, and one that government officials and the mainstream media love to use, but we the people should be smarter and more discerning than to be taken in by that. We used to depend on the news media to be the government watchdog (Edward Murrow, Jack Andersen, Woodward and Bernstein), but that is no longer the case for a lot of reasons, so it falls on the shoulders of individual citizens to risk their careers and their lives to uncover these government misdeeds.
Whether it’s 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination or any government related claim, conspiracy debunkers always ask how could all of the people involved in the conspiracy keep quiet for decades? Well, the NSA revelations demonstrate that illegal government activity involving certainly hundreds, maybe thousands of people worldwide, could be kept under wraps for nearly 10 years. If Snowden hadn’t come along, it may have gone on in secret for another 10 years.
Not all conspiracy theories are true or even believable, but we do have to acknowledge that sometimes they are very real and, if no one has the guts to poke around in the hole with a stick, they will never be revealed. Leaving the government to act without any checks and balances, as we are seeing, is an invitation to disaster.