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Sat Jun 15, 2013, 11:51 AM

The Snowden Prism

Now, in practice, there are a million shades of grey. You can support your government but see its various shortcomings and even evil things it does. And as I said at the outset, this is where leaks play a critical, though ambiguous role, as a safety valve. But it comes down to this essential thing: is the aim and/or effect of the leak to correct an abuse or simply to blow the whole thing up?
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Snowden is doing more than triggering a debate. I think itís clear heís trying to upend, damage - choose your verb - the US intelligence apparatus and policieis he opposes. The fact that what heís doing is against the law speaks for itself. I donít think anyone doubts that narrow point. But heís not just opening the thing up for debate. Heís taking it upon himself to make certain things no longer possible, or much harder to do. To me thatís a betrayal. I think itís easy to exaggerate how much damage these disclosures cause. But I donít buy that there are no consequences. And it goes to the point I was making in an earlier post. Who gets to decide? The totality of the officeholders whoíve been elected democratically - for better or worse - to make these decisions? Or Edward Snowden, some young guy Iíve never heard of before who espouses a political philosophy I donít agree with and is now seeking refuge abroad for breaking the law?

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Speaking for myself, the kind of balancing Iím describing is critical. But for a lot of people, again, thereís really nothing to balance since transparency is always better or because change is so necessary that spilling the beans has to be a good thing. That just doesnít fit with my way of looking at these things. Thatís why Iím taking this story as it unfolds. And Iím very skeptical of the notion that what Snowden did is awesome just because leaking state secrets is always a heroic act.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/06/like_the_oj_simpson_trial.php?ref=fpblg

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Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Snowden Prism (Original post)
arely staircase Jun 2013 OP
flamingdem Jun 2013 #1
GeorgeGist Jun 2013 #2
Whisp Jun 2013 #3
arely staircase Jun 2013 #4
OilemFirchen Jun 2013 #5

Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:01 PM

1. He could have approached his supposed goal in many ways

and he certainly didn't need to compromise US security interests to such and extent around the world along the way.

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:14 PM

2. I wonder how many other unqualified analysts ...

are analyzing National Security data?

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:16 PM

3. I wonder if Booz hires itself out for corporate espionage.

 

probably yes.

freelance stuff for themselves or are they commited to only doing gov work?



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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:19 PM

4. snowden is the halliburton electric shower of IT guys

nt

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Response to arely staircase (Original post)

Sat Jun 15, 2013, 12:58 PM

5. Whether intentionally or not, he did the right wing a tremendous service.

By reinforcing their belief that government is the enemy, he's also converted some on the left. A prevailing refrain is that, though acting within the law and specifically under the purview of the three branches of government, the intelligence community, by their nature, are liars. Thus, everything you know about them is the exact opposite of the truth. They aren't collecting and encrypting simple numbers, they're listening in on every phone call, reading every email, poring over every social media entry. And their goal isn't to keep the public safe, it's to entrap innocent citizens. Moreso, the President, the Attorney General, and many members of Congress and the Judiciary are big government-enablers - ergo, enemies of the people.

He also created a scenario whereby everyone must be a binarian. You cannot simultaneously believe that the government has overreached and that the government works for the public's best interest. You must pick sides. You cannot agree that the law is imperfect while arguing that the law is our foundation, and that adherence to it is our obligation. You must believe that those with whom you disagree are your enemies.

It may not be ratfucking, this particular "scandal", but it might as well be.

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