Hit & Run

Steve Chapman on Excusing Abuses of Power

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U.S. Government/Wikimedia Commons

If you're part of the U.S. national security apparatus and you torture someone to death during an interrogation, you can rest easy. Two administrations have furnished get-out-of-jail-free cards absolving you of responsibility for your crime. But if you're part of that same U.S. national security apparatus and divulge to the American people information about government activities that are unauthorized, illegal, and quite possibly unconstitutional, you should expect no such mercy. Commit crimes on behalf of the government? OK. Reveal secret abuses committed by the government? You must be joking. Steve Chapman says the government's reaction to Snowden's revelations perfectly demonstrates the Washington rule: Abuse power, and you'll be protected by those with power. Expose abuse, and you're on your own.