Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

Pompeo’s criticism of Snowden draws Guardian response

Is Edward Snowden a whistle-blower or a traitor? Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, labeled Snowden (in photo) the latter in a recent commentary in The Eagle, arguing that the former National Security Agency contractor “has provided intelligence to America’s adversaries, enabling them to change tactics and avoid detection.” That drew a response from the Guardian, one of the newspapers to which Snowden leaked NSA documents showing the scope of phone and Internet surveillance. While acknowledging that “information published in the press can be read by anyone,” the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman noted that Snowden leaked documents to newspapers, not to al-Qaida or North Korea, and said Snowden told him directly during an online chat that he would not trade access to his documents for asylum. Ackerman challenged “the blithe assertion, absent evidence, that the former NSA contractor actively collaborated with America’s enemies. Snowden made classified information about widespread surveillance available to the American public. That’s a curious definition of an enemy for U.S. legislators to adopt.” Snowden is believed to be at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, trying to arrange asylum in another country and to avoid extradition to the U.S.

UPDATE: J.P. Freire, Pompeo’s director of communications, told The Eagle editorial board that Pompeo doesn’t know whether or not Snowden “actively collaborated” with America’s enemies. But “we do know that what he did helped our enemies,” Freire said, “and that’s why we classify information in the first place – to prevent it from falling in the wrong hands.”

On fireworks, Wichita is out of step with most regional peers

Though one fireworks injury or burned mobile home is one too many, this year’s Independence Day seemed safer and smoother than many in Wichita and Sedgwick County. The nonemergency phone line for fireworks complaints worked as intended, handling 490 calls Thursday night and avoiding the past situation in which 911 callers reporting serious emergencies encountered busy signals. The injuries reported this year were few and mostly minor. And thank goodness for the hard work of firefighters and other emergency responders. But the sky over Wichita on Thursday night was ablaze with evidence of lawbreaking, specifically the ban on anything that shoots projectiles more than 6 feet into the air. And Wichita is out of step with most of its regional urban peers on the issue. Fireworks are banned in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Des Moines, Little Rock and Kansas City, Mo., though Omaha lifted its ban two years ago. Oklahoma City Fire Department Deputy Chief Kellie Sawyers recently said: “They’re dangerous, they cause injuries, they can cause property destruction and have been illegal in Oklahoma City for over 30 years.” Does Wichita’s fireworks ordinance work if citizens treat it like a joke?