Fans of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 can't help but hear an echo of the novel's plot in the real-life drama playing out over the leak of information about massive U.S. government spying programs.
The admitted whistle-blower, former National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden, apparently exposed the NSA's telephone and Internet data-gathering in an attempt to trigger a public debate about the extent to which our privacy has been compromised in the name of national security.
That debate now seems likely to play out in the federal courts. But before Snowden's revelations, civil libertarians had been turned away because they couldn't prove to the courts' satisfaction that anyone's communications had been targeted illegally. Why? Because the government won't say whose phone or e-mail messages have been tapped.