whistleblowing and 2 party system
"There are legally approved procedures for whistle blowers."
These procedures were used in 2002 to document the NSA's illegal and unconstitutional activities. This included specific documentation of an NSA facility within a specific AT&T long distance phone center, and documentation suggesting a similar setup was in several other AT&T long-lines facilities. This was in the New York Times. This seemed to be picked up online, but not more widely by the old media (TV news, other newspapers, etc.) Do you remember hearing about this? Most don't, it was really kept on the down low. The EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) also received a copy of these documents. Absurdly, when they attempted to use some of these documents they received in a trial against the illegal wiretapping, they were told they were secret and therefore inelligible for use at trial. When they tried to use the New York Times articles, they were told THOSE nationally published news articles were also secret and inelligibile for use at trial!
"While those available to Snowden were more limited than those available to civilian and military employees, there is no evidence that he tried to use them beyond his claim"
Per the above, he probably did just as he claimed, and due to practice from 2002, they got his whistle blowing "disappeared" before it got into the papers this time around. A standard, documented, procedure for dealing with those these types of agencies don't care for is to discredit them, so I'm not surprised they would be "unable to find" any evidence he attempted to use proper whistleblower procedures.
", which might reasonably be discounted somewhat based on the dishonesty of some of his other actions."
Nonsense sentence fragment. You see his behavior as dishonest, I see him doing what any patriot should have done in the face of widespread illegal and unconstitutional activities by a government agency.
"Beyond that, a number of senators and representatives probably would have been open to information about infringement on US civil rights and liberties and interested in initiating legislation to curb NSA excesses."
You'd think so wouldn't you? Patriotic senators and representatives like Rand Paul and Ron Paul have spoken vehemently against the NSA's actions. But, others at the time (2002) either dismissed the claims, went on and on about "balancing" (meaning "taking away") people's rights and privacy in the interest of security, or thought other topics are more important than people's civil rights, ignoring their oaths to defend the constitution. Just as they continue to do now.
Since the US has a broken 2-party system (where the two parties would probably be a single party in most countries where there are like 2 or 3 larger parties and several smaller ones), there has been no chance for a party to champion reducing the NSA's unbridled power; and there have not been enough individuals running for office making this an issue for the populace to be able to really have any say in the issue whatsoever by voting people into or out of office.
(Side bar -- I think the source of the 2-party system's lock on the elections is the polls. I have gotten two political poll calls asking what party or who I was voting for -- the 1st only had 2 choices of course from the 2 main parties, without even a 3rd choice of "none of the above" or "someone else." The second poll *did* have a choice of "push 9 for someone else", then said "Your choice is invalid" and obviously didn't record my selection! Even when a 3rd party candidate has gotten 10% of the vote, or in a few cases even won an election, the polls will indicate the 2 main parties getting 100% support due to invalid poll design. Too many voters are a tad sheep-like, and consider it "throwing away their vote" (not my term!) to vote for someone they actually want in office if they don't think they will get much of the vote, so these polls really do effect the election much more than they should. Don't get me wrong, I don't think fixing the polls to acknowledge the existence of 3rd parties would radically change the political landscape in the next like 4 or 8 years, but long term I think it'd make the political landscape here much healthier than it is now, there'd at least be the threat that if these two parties become *TOO* ineffective (as some complain off-and-on is happening) they'd have the risk of both parties being voted out of office.)