What they’re ignoring is that this is actually how democracy works. Even in a free society, the state has to have some secrets. The means and methods by which it tracks terrorists should, I’d suggest, be one of them. Should those means and methods be subject to scrutiny? Yes. Should that scrutiny come from our democratically elected representatives? Yes. Should the powers being scrutinised also be the subject of checks and balances from the courts? Yes. In other words, precisely what has been happening with Prism.
Jeffrey Toobin posting on The New Yorker’s web site: “Indeed, Snowden was so irresponsible in what he gave the Guardian and the Postthat even these institutions thought some of it should not be disseminated to the public. The Postdecided to publish only four of the forty-one slides that Snowden provided. Its exercise of judgment suggests the absence of Snowden’s.”
Toobin’s colleague John Cassidy provides counterpoint: “He is a hero. (My colleague Jeffrey Toobin disagrees.) In revealing the colossal scale of the U.S. government’s eavesdropping on Americans and other people around the world, he has performed a great public service that more than outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed.”
In Politico, Tal Kopan has worked up a scathing indictment of Snowden’s character founded on the slant of the details, from Snowden’s dropping out of high school, albeit completing his GED coursework in the community college system, to the stickers on his laptop: “4. His laptop stickers reveal his beliefs. Stickers on Snowden’s laptop express support for Internet freedom, The Guardian said. One reads, “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” and another is for the Tor Project, an online anonymity software.”
But Iceland says he is missing a key element.
“The main stipulation for seeking asylum in Iceland would be that the person must be in Iceland to start the process,” said Johannes Tomasson, the chief spokesman for Iceland’s Ministry of Interior in Reykjavik. “That would be the ground rule No. 1.”
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, AOL and Paltalk erected what the New York Timesdescribes as “locked mailboxes” in which to place data on suspicious persons requested by the government under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The Times’ description, published Saturday, used unnamed sources.
Basically, it looks like the post-911 Bush Administration launched a broad and comprehensive effort to detect terrorists and their operations (apparently, ignoring plain old gumshoe Russian intelligence sharing prior to the Boston Marathon bombing shouldn’t be mixed in with this NSA story), and, legally, Congress-approved, by law, Obama has sustained the Bush Administration plan.
This is for my paranoids — it’s at least four years old, has been viewed more than 57,000 times, and it will take you where you want to go.
I’ll save readers the trouble of clicking around: NOVA. “The Spy Factory.” Video. Aired February 3, 2009.
God has not exempted geeks from having their own character and personality issues, so here I may lump Assange, the Wikileaks guy (click for the latest on that), and Snowden together — birds of similar feather, says I, and asylum, indeed, is what they have needed.