Monday, June 10, 2013

Train of Thoughts on the NSA "Whistleblower"

  • The Patriot Act authorized nearly limitless collection of communications data in 2001. Is this "story" really "breaking?"
  • If you are entrusted with a security clearance and then disseminate classified information, you have opened yourself up to charges of espionage.
  • The Obama administration, used to having public opinion in its favor and malleable in its deft hands, is in big trouble. It's not used to being unable to turn public outrage to its favor, and it doesn't just yet appear that there is any hope of doing that now. How will it react, with docility? Or will its mission of maintaining control over the public debate force it to shift from persuasion to coercion? From coercion to force? 
  • Let's be honest: we all knew we were going to see universal surveillance when we embraced the "Information Age" because doing so required us to embrace the "Information Superhighway", an historically unparalleled mechanism of concentration and permanent recording of all digital communication. Let's not be disingenuous by pretending to be too surprised. The youngsters whose feelings are hurt most by it seem to be the most unrealistically idealistic -- the ones who think all information should be free and nations should not need borders. Employing such people in the Intelligence field is asking for trouble. "Imagine no possessions" all you want -- but be careful what you wish for.
  • The outrage isn't that the government conducts surveillance operations, it is who the government considers its enemies to be (i.e. under the Obama administration, Catholics have been labelled as "terrorists").
  • The answer to government abuse of power is going to be what, more laws, more committees, more government power?
  • Spilling national secrets to the worldwide media because you are disillusioned with your government or the world or your own life is still traitorous.  You're not a "whistle-blower" just because you disagree with the government, nor are you necessarily a "hero". 
  • If you want to "blow the whistle", there are channels for doing so. If the "system" fails you, you can always offer the story to a British tabloid then.
  • Everyone also "knew" that Google and other big information harvesters were doing exactly that: "harvesting" information.  Isn't anyone outraged that they are behaving merely as appendages of a very politically motivated presidential administration?
  • There should be no doubt now, if any were remaining, that there is "Us", and there is "Them".
  • Finally, does the government know anything about you that you haven't already posted on your Facebook page?


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