How is this guy a whistle blower? What illegal activity or wasteful on the government's part did he reveal? Because that's the definition of a whistle blower in the law. an you substantiate you claim that he's a whistle blower?
On your other point, the production of universal guilt coupled with selective enforcement is the functional equivalent to 8no law at all*, since the only thing keeping your head of f the block is the will of the government of the king, i.e. a nation of men and not a nation of laws.
But where is the evidence that this is now the case? I agree that we are overcriminalizing speech or at least over reacting to vague online cries of angst or anger , but how is law enforcement supposed to know how seriously to take any of those? Because they WILL be blamed if the person goes on to DO something. In this case, It's not my impression that they relish going after the errant Twitterer , much less they're trying to produce a kind of universal intimidation, but that they're in a no win situation if they don't act.
Looked at in this way, law enforcement can't LEAD us to, we need to set the boundaries we find acceptable. We need to more explicitly lay out what is and what is not OK to say . Then they can be guided in their actions by those parameters.
A significant shift has taken place in our culture with respect to speech. What was once beers-in-the-kitchen talk amongst like minded people who knew each other well is now posted for everyone in the world to hear. Different communities of listeners will *hear* what's said differently. Specifically adolescent male bravado and adult hyperbole is shocking to a lot of people who don't *get* it. One of those people complain and now what are the cops supposed to do? They HAVE to err on the side of caution because it what we've told them to do implicitly by punishing them for not acting.
It's just one of the many places our previously unconscious mores are being challenged as insufficient for the internet age. We need to make the boundaries more explicit. It's up to us, because the NSA and law enforcement won't and can't lead.
I actually had sympathy for Hayden when he said wherever you put the box, I am am going to go right to that boxes boundaries. That is honest speech. 30k people die by gunshot every year int he US and another 30k in auto accidents. While we think these things are tragedies, we don't feel like these things represent paralyzing mortal dangers. So if you think that law enforcement or the NSA is overachieving in trying to keep us safe, then say that to your Congresscritter. Talk about what is not acceptable even given severe consequences. Is losing a city to suitcase nuke something you're willing to take the chance on if it means no one is sotring your emails?
I am not being snarky here in the least, I am being completely serious.It's up to the people of a nation to decide what their collective value system is. Before the internet ate all forms of human communication, before the widespread knowledge of how to *do* stuff, including bad stuff, before the world was such a small place, our unconscious notion that law enforcement should work as hard as technically possible to prevent any and all bad things from happening wasn't a problem. Now perhaps we need to consciously look at that unconscious value system that has served us pretty well. But if all we do is throw around accusations at each other and officialdom , making some of us Good Guys and others of us Bad Guys we're not going to really get anywhere.
The government is not out to just willy nilly repress and destroy you because it's filled with Stalin-esque mad men. That's a possible world, it is, but it is not our current world, not the in the US.
When was the last time you sat down and read a book on national security and made an effort to make explicit what your own value system is in this regard? People viscerally react to what rubs them the wrong with without regard to what other very real forces are at play.
Maybe you know exactly where the line is for free speech, for surveillance , for information mining for everything. That's great. What you need to do, what we all need to do when we arrive at that point is call or write your Congressperson. That's how this game is played . You can't complain you lost the game if you don't even try to play it by its own rules.