My brother called me the other day to talk about the NSA spying program leaked by Edward Snowden.
He said he has been fascinated by the response of politicians, particularly of their language regarding the incident, and the frequent use of the word treason in describing Snowdenâ€™s actions. Itâ€™s an extreme word used to elicit an emotional response.
The hyperventilating seems to span party lines.
My brother told me his impression is that these politicians are running scared, but he wasnâ€™t sure of what.
So I relayed to him my one experience with politicians who faced getting caught. They act a little irrational when they see the metaphorical jig is up.
This occurred in Helena and Hot Springs, Ark.
A fourth-grade class from Helena went on a field trip to Hot Springs. When the kids got back, two little girls said they had been sexually assaulted by a chaperone.
I knew I wouldnâ€™t be able to get the school district to tell me about the alleged incident, but I asked for some general information about the field trip, such as its purpose, and who sponsored it, which is information the schools will give you gleefully. Except they didnâ€™t. And this raised a red flag. I already had all the alleged criminal details from the police report, so I couldnâ€™t figure out what they were hiding.
After a series of news stories and, frankly, vicious editorials, the school board released a statement that they would release information when they felt it was appropriate. The statement was basically, â€śWe know best, and weâ€™ll tell you what we want you to know when we feel like it.â€ť
So, I sued them under the freedom of information act, for the general information about the field trip. It seemed kind of extreme just to make a point, but the end result was fascinating.
The judgeâ€™s ruling went way beyond my request. The district had to release everything it had on the field trip, including typed reports and tape recorded interviews with the participants. He also ordered the chaperones to be available to be interviewed by the media at a certain date and time.
And that is when the big secret came out. Instead of being at the hotel watching over a bunch of 10-year-old kids, all the chaperones, except for the suspect, were out hitting the bars in Hot Springs. I wouldnâ€™t have wanted that to get out either.
So, the point Iâ€™m trying to make is that when politicians respond to something in a way that seems totally inappropriate, itâ€™s a good sign there is a bigger secret they are trying to hide. Iâ€™m not really a conspiracy theorist, but I have a feeling thereâ€™s something much bigger going on, and a lot of people in DC are hoping the American people donâ€™t find out. The NSA stuff is probably part of it, but not the worst of it.
I hope Iâ€™m wrong.
Robert Shearon is publisher of the Poteau Daily News. Write him at P.O. Box 1237, Poteau, OK 74953 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.