SOME OF the attacks on Edward Snowden, like what Jeffrey Toobin unloaded in the New Yorker, reveal where this discussion is heading in some quarters, but at least the transparency President Obama once promised is being forced on him, which is obviously the only way it was going to happen.
The screen capture at top is from Medium, a fairly new site from the people at Twitter, one of the few tech giants who still protect our privacy. So far… It’s from a two minute read by Daniel Delaney, emphasis original:
Even President Obama thinks that secretly expanding government power to spy on Americans and lying about it is a great move, because, you know, terrorism. It’s pretty clear that this isn’t up for discussion. The adults are handling things, and we should sit down and be quiet.
Here’s the problem. Governments are supposed to be “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”, or so we said in the Declaration of Independence. Our government has made it fairly clear that our thoughts aren’t welcome. They’re free to trample on our rights, and we’re free to shut up about it. That’s not so good.
If Jeffrey Toobin can write what follows below and have readers of the New Yorker believe it, forget about educating the public.
But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. – Jeffrey Toobin
That statement is pure fiction. Obviously Jeffrey Toobin thinks his readers are stupid. If they don’t know better than to reject Toobin’s fiction they deserve the fate they get.
“I learned the hard way you cannot trust any of the internal– supposed mechanisms that are there for oversight.” – Russell Tice (with Chris Hayes on “All In,” video below)
NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, who exposed the warrantless wiretaps under the Bush administration, understands why Edward Snowden went to the press. Tice knows first hand that what Jeffrey Toobin is asserting is untrue. Tice tried to go through channels and got stabbed in the back everywhere he turned. Tice has said before and does so again that the whistleblower law doesn’t protect intelligence analysts well. Tice ran into trouble with the IG’s office, including the intelligence and DOD agency’s IG. The whistleblower protection act, even on the intelligence side, doesn’t protect security analysts fully either. On the intelligence side, a whistleblower can go to Congress, but he or she is not protected from retribution, as Tice found out.
It’s not just that the government that has our information, but private companies have it, too, going well beyond what the Internet collects as we travel the web. As Senator Bernie Sanders says in the video below, who do you want having your private health care information? Taking it a step further, who are these private contractors, these paid intelligence mercenaries; people with no loyalties except their paycheck? How safe our our nation’s secrets in their hands?
People are starting to besmirch the character of Barton Gellman, the Washington Post national security reporter who has broken story after story that has revealed secrets our government wants to keep from the public, including writing on the NSA, Snowden, and PRISM. Emails are flying across the web attacking Glenn Greenwald as well.
Jeffrey Toobin writes a piece in the New Yorker attacking Edward Snowden.
Barack Obama as a candidate promised transparency, while railing against the Bush administration. Democrats applauded, because they’d pilloried George W. Bush for his executive overreach as well. Now, way too many Democrats are providing cover for the Obama administration, while smearing the messengers.
That doesn’t bother me, because it was expected. The win remains that the NSA’s wide reaching spying, as well as PRISM, and the tech companies who help the government by complying, have been exposed, when President Obama didn’t want this to be. What’s also been exposed is the fecklessness of Congress to be briefed on things like this, because they can’t do anything when they are, or tell anyone about their concerns, either.
How it all was discovered was through real reporting and a big fat leak about what our government is doing in the dark.
It’s been a very good few days for the American people. Those who aren’t paying attention still benefit, because the domestic dragnet President Obama has unleashed on a mostly unsuspecting and unconcerned public is now out in the open. That’s where it should have been from the start.