Friday, January 03, 2014

My Thoughts Exactly on Snowden

All developed nations spy on both friends and enemies, and have been for centuries.  They all have a gentleman’s agreement not to talk about it or make it too obvious.  Edward Snowden not only has threatened NSA’s programs to keep us safe from terrorists. he has revealed methods to terrorists so that they can evade attempts to learn of their deadly plans, and he has caused great embarrassment to the United States, endangering and even ending cooperation among friendly countries.  How can we expect countries like England, Germany, France and Israel to share intelligence if a trusted American, who has taken an oath, can reveal their sources and methods as well?

Edward Snowden, the insufferable whistleblower

By Ruth MarcusDecember 31, 2013 Wash Post (Excerpt)

"Time has not deflated Edward Snowden’s messianic sense of self-importance. Nor has living in an actual police state given the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower any greater appreciation of the actual freedoms that Americans enjoy.

Insufferable is the first adjective evoked by Snowden’s recent interview with Barton Gellman in The Post, but it has numerous cousins: smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought.

The Snowden of Gellman’s interview is seized with infuriating certitude about the righteousness of his cause. Not for Snowden any anxiety about the implications for national security of his theft of government secrets, any regrets about his violations of a duty of secrecy.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won,” Snowden proclaimed. “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

And what gave Snowden the right to assume that responsibility? “That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model. They elected me. The overseers,” he said. “The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

Thankfully, at least as Snowden sees it, he was there to pick up the slack. “The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that [NSA Director] Keith Alexander and [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper did not.”.......
Yet the existing oversight, while flawed, is not as feckless as Snowden portrays it, and the degree of intrusion on Americans’ privacy, while troubling, is not nearly as menacing as he sees it. In the government’s massive database is information about who I called and who they called in turn. Perhaps the government shouldn’t have it; surely, there should be more controls over when they can search it. But my metadata almost certainly hasn’t been scrutinized; even if it has, the content of the calls remains off-limits.

If the scope of Snowden’s theft and subsequent disclosures had been as limited, my scale might balance in the opposite direction. But the theft was massive. The injury to intelligence-gathering is of equal magnitude. “I am still working for the NSA right now,” Snowden announced. “They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

Orwell might have called that double-think."


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