I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Edward Snowden Is No Hero

Here are, more or less, my thoughts on the NSA stuff. As usual I d"on't have much to say but am interested in what the YA community thinks.

"What, one wonders, did Snowden think the N.S.A. did?"

"The question, of course, is whether the government can function when all of its employees (and contractors) can take it upon themselves to sabotage the programs they don’t like. That’s what Snowden has done."


  1. A democracy can only function with an informed populace. In a republic we, the voters, elect based on past actions, or promised potential actions. How can we cast an informed vote if do not know what the elected, or those that work for them, are doing?

    The pentagon papers were not officially declassified until 2011, but their release in 1971 showed the american people that they had been repeatedly lied to, and helped bring an end to that war.

    1. Michael, doesn't your argument apply to any secrets at all?

      Troop movements in a war for example?

    2. Troop movements are only secret before and during the move. Once a large number of troops are moved, I bet it's pretty hard to keep it a secret. Also, troop movements are perfectly legal, in most cases.

      What Snowden did was leak information that the N.S.A. was gathering the metadata for every phone call made on the Verizon Business Network in the United States. This was legal under the PATRIOT act until 2011, when it was changed to include a clause that they only had to be relevant to an investigation in order to be obtained.

      Assuming that no other phone companies are doing what Verizon is: what investigations would mandate the gathering of every call on a network?

    3. The fact that troop movements are only sometimes a secret seems to me to be quite beside the point.

  2. I am not sure when I first read about PRISM and the Utah facility but it was well over 6 months ago, so my surprise is that everyone is surprised.

    It is my understanding that Version and other providers are, at this time, admitting to furnishing metadata only. It is also my understanding that the NSA will, and may already, be collecting actual data that comes over any internet node in the US. That would include actual emails, IMs, blog entries, facebook entries, VOIP phone messages, etc.

    It is also my understanding that control and access to the information collected by the NSA will controlled by a FISA court.

    As someone who would prefer that government restrict its involvement in my life to roads and national security here is my bottom line.

    1. Snowden did not introduce any information I did not already know.
    2. If Snowden violated a contractual agreement with an employer or the government he should be held accountable on that basis.
    3. I am very concerned that a government agency (the NSA) will have “that” much information.
    4. I am concerned about the control of access to the information and the continued integrity of the FISA court.
    5. I would be far more concerned if our government were not doing what the NSA is doing. I am onboard with PRISM.

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  3. In the contracting world NDAs (non disclosure agreements) are paramount for both parties. I am 100% certain that Booz Allen Hamilton (the Hamilton is usually silent) and BAH employees work under NDAs, which I suspect, Snowden violated.