Dear Dr. Boli: Sometimes the news confuses me. For example, there’s this guy who told the newspapers that the U.S. government had a secret program that was illegally spying on Americans’ communications. The government says it isn’t doing what he said it was doing, and it also says he’s a traitor for revealing what the government isn’t doing, and that authorities are “aggressively pursuing him.” So what is he guilty of? These things confuse me. —Sincerely, Jos. R. Biden.
Dear Sir: First of all, Mr. Snowden, the “guy” of whom you speak, revealed the extent of our government’s surveillance capabilities to our enemies, such as the European Union. This alone is enough to brand him a traitor.
Second, since the government continues to deny that it is making use of those capabilities, and the private communications companies involved deny that the capabilities even exist, Mr. Snowden must have wildly exaggerated his claims in the service of some sinister political agenda of his own.
There is only one word for the use of wild exaggeration to make a political point. In plain speech, Mr. Snowden is guilty of satire. Under the provisions of the PATRIOT act, the penalty for satire is death.