THE BLOG
07/02/2013 12:35 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2013

Top 10 Ironies in the Case Against Snowden

No story in recent memory contains richer irony or more incongruities than the response of the government and the media to Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's wholesale access to our email and phone records. Here, in ascending order, are the top 10 ironies in the case of the United States v. Snowden:

10. The party responsible for all the warrantless surveillance has accused the whistleblower of spying.

9. The charge of espionage is leveled against someone who never met with agents of a foreign power or received payment for information.

8. Snowden is accused of aiding terrorists by disclosing a surveillance program they've known about for a decade.

7. The Secretary of State criticized Hong Kong's failure to abide by "the rule of law" and extradite the fellow who exposed our government's warrantless access to everyone's communications.

6. The Obama administration rails against the world for shielding Snowden from prosecution while the Justice Department forgets to revoke his passport.

5. The administration rails against the world for shielding Snowden while the DOJ forgets to keep the charges sealed, thus prompting Snowden to flee Hong Kong.

4. "Journalist" David Gregory, moderator of MSNBC's "Meet the Press," suggests that the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald aided and abetted crime by interviewing a whistleblower.

3. The mainstream media, increasingly the target of unchecked surveillance, smear Greenwald and focus on Snowden, largely leaving aside the abuses they revealed.

2. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), argues that Snowden stole documents that "belong to the people of the U.S." by sharing the secret contents of the documents with the people who own them.

1. The DOJ, whose policy manual states that, in order to "protect whistle-blowers" the charge of theft of government property should not be brought against one who, "for the primary purpose of public exposure of the material, reveals a government document," goes ahead and charges Snowden, a whistleblower, with that very crime.

BONUS IRONY. Because the Obama administration would be spared the trouble of a protracted extradition battle that would further aggravate foreign relations and a lengthy trial likely to bring additional disclosures of unfettered snooping, Barak Obama is the principle beneficiary of Edward Snowden's flight from U.S. jurisdiction.

Which, by the way, would explain the president's response when asked at a news conference in Senegal last Thursday if he'd speak with Mr. Putin to try to secure Snowden's return. "I'm not going to ... start wheeling and dealing," Mr. Obama informed us, "so that he can face the justice system here in the United States."

Jay Sterling Silver is a law professor at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, FL. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times and other national and local media.