Reports of Washington’s anger directed at surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate a basic truth about power. Noam Chomsky has expressed it as the underlying problem for genuine democracy, even in so-called ‘free’ societies:
‘Remember, any state, any state, has a primary enemy: its own population.’ (Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, edited by Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel, The New Press, 2002, p. 70.)
Anyone who steps out of line, especially if they defy authority’s attempts to apprehend them, risks severe punishment. All the more so because it is important to publicly discipline miscreants, lest the threat of a ‘bad’ example become a contagion sweeping through society.