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article imageOp-Ed: Ben Franklin America's first whistle-blower

By Robert Weller     Dec 27, 2013 in Politics
History can be inconvenient. For those who condemn Edward Snowden it is best not to look into the history of one of the nation’s most influential forefathers, Benjamin Franklin.
Not only was Franklin the Snowden of his day, publishing letters incriminating the British crown, he even established his own network of counter-surveillance and manipulation, according to Wikipedia.
Perhaps as a result, someone still unknown today, sent him letters from Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson to British Prime Minister George Grenville on how to still rising tempers of colonialists.
Hutchinson said the colonialists had been given too much freedom and local government, and it should be taken away “by degrees,” Techdirt reports. Hutchinson also pleaded for more troops.
Unlike Snowden, Franklin circulated the letters among supporters of independent rule. He did not want them published.
But once the firebrands read them, they ended up in the Boston Gazette in 1773. Hutchinson was forced to flee the colonies, the Franklin Institute reports.
Franklin felt honor bound to admit he was the source, and was called before the British government. He was scolded and lost his job as Deputy Postmaster of the North American colonies.
There was no espionage act or Franklin, who was in England at the time, might have been jailed.
The issue of whether Snowden’s information, which was infinitely more wide-ranging than Franklin’s, should have been discussed in the mainstream media. Many, who had turned a blind eye to the spying of the NSA and war crimes in Iraq, called Snowden a traitor.
British journalist Glenn Greenwald, one of the first to publish Snowden’s data, said it was his duty as a journalist. “Sure, I do defend him just like people on MSNBC defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic party leaders 24 hours a day,” Greenwald said.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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