Earlier this month, Politico warned that Edward Snowden's "nightmare may be coming true" — that is, that his efforts would yield no systemic change. Even at the time, that was an iffy argument. But now it seems that the opposite is the case. Edward Snowden may be getting everything his heart desired: a change in policies, a shift in attitudes, and — perhaps surprising even himself — personal freedom.
When Snowden first reached out to reporters, offering details on the National Security Agency's surveillance systems, he did so with some trepidation. "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," he wrote in one of his first communications with The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant." In a video interview with the paper, he spoke the line that was the focal point of that Politico article:
The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. People will see in the media all of these disclosures. They'll know the lengths that the government is going to grant themselves powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society. But they won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.
Which brings us to today.
Policy changes are moving forward. Later today, the House of Representatives will vote on an amendment to a Department of Defense spending bill that would rescind any funding that could be used by the NSA to collect metadata on phone calls — one of the aspects of the agency's surveillance revealed by Snowden.