In my opinion, Stephen Colbert is a bit of an enigma. Similar to people like Zach Galifianakis or Will Ferrell, he seems to live much of his life in a state of perpetual satire and character. Even when outside of the confines of his show, it’s rare that you see him act in any form of serious manner.
So when I came across a recent speech where he spoke somewhat candidly about the NSA and Edward Snowden, I was intrigued. And while he wasn’t completely serious throughout his speech, he definitely expressed several opinions that you could tell he strongly believed.
I wasn’t aware that Colbert actually believed Snowden belongs in jail. Being someone who’s obviously a liberal, especially a popular liberal media figure, history tells me that they often side with those who think Edward Snowden is some kind of a hero.
I, like Stephen Colbert, do not.
Colbert was speaking at the RSA Conference when he decided to address a petition that demanded he side with the boycott alleging that RSA’s parent company is colluding with the NSA.
Colbert then went on to say that there was no evidence to support the Rueters story by Joseph Menn that claimed:
“Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a ‘back door’ in encryption products.”
He then went on a more serious note saying that “time and time again” Americans have supported the policies for which the Patriot Act allows.
“We the people voted for the Patriot Act. We voted for the people who reauthorized it, and re-reauthorized it. The American people have spoken,” he said. “You don’t change horses in mid-wiretap.”
But he didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of the NSA either, mocking how such a “sophisticated agency” like the NSA “can get pwned by a 29 year old with a thumb drive.”
He then further slammed the NSA, saying, “We have solid proof that this program saved zero lives. It was designed to root out terrorists. It shouldn’t bother you if you’re not hiding anything, and since you can’t hide anything from the NSA, nothing is bothering you.”
Then during the question and answer portion someone asked him about Edward Snowden, “Why, if Snowden was concerned with letting us know how we are spied on, why did he let us know how we spy on other countries? I think we should spy on other countries.”
Which is similar to the points I’ve expressed to people.
It’s not exactly as if I agree with all the policies of the NSA, but it wasn’t as if Edward Snowden simply grabbed a handful of documents hoping to expose the NSA programs which collected the phone records of Americans. He then went out and exposed how America spies on certain countries in what seemed to me like an attempt to bribe certain nations into to offering him asylum.
I’ve said it before, I don’t believe for a moment that he hasn’t given something over to the Russian government. They don’t have to turn him over to the United States but they could force him out of their country – and they haven’t. To me, it’s clear that he’s been collaborating in some kind of way with Russian officials.
Colbert closed by saying that the “greatest threat to our security” was not knowing where the money comes from in politics and those who don’t vote. Which I’ve also maintained is exactly true.
As Americans we often complain about our government, but the undeniable truth is that none of these politicians get elected without our votes. The Congress and government we often complain about is the Congress and government we elected.
I just found these comments by Colbert to pretty interesting. Any time you see someone who seems to live a life frozen in perpetual satire it raises a few eyebrows when they take a serious tone on mainstream issues.