avatar
Just the Tip of the Iceberg


personality assaults on Snowd [1]en have begun in full force from official Washington and their media spokespeople. They are only going to intensify. There is nobody who political officials and their supine media class hate more than those who meaningfully dissent from their institutional orthodoxies and shine light on what they do. The hatred for such individuals is boundless.

There are two great columns on this dynamic. This one [2] by Reuters' Jack Shafer explores how elite Washington reveres powerful leakers that glorify political officials, but only hate marginalized and powerless leakers who discredit Washington and its institutions. And perhaps the best column yet [3] on Snowden comes this morning from the Daily Beast's Kirsten Powers: just please take the time to read it all, as it really conveys the political and psychological rot that is driving the attacks on him and on his very carefully vetted disclosures.

UPDATE

The New York Times reports today that Yahoo went to court in order to vehemently resist the NSA's directive that they join the Prism program, and joined only when the court compelled it to do so. The company specifically "argued that the order violated its users' Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures."

If, as NSA (and Silicon Valley) defenders claim, Prism is nothing more than a harmless little drop-box mechanism for delivering to the government what these companies were already providing, why would Yahoo possibly be in court so vigorously resisting it and arguing that it violates their users' Fourth Amendment rights? Similarly, how could it possibly be said – as US government officials have – that Prism has been instrumental in stopping terrorist plots if it did not enhance the NSA's collection capabilities? The denials from the internet companies make little sense when compared to what we know about the program. At the very least, there is ample reason to demand more disclosure and transparency about exactly what this is and what data-access arrangements they have agreed to.

UPDATE II

My column that is appearing in the Guardian newspaper, on the fallout from the NSA stories, is now posted here [4].

UPDATE III

Underscoring all of these points, please take two minutes to watch this amazing video [5], courtesy of EFF, in which the 2006 version of Joe Biden aggressively debates the 2013 version of Barack Obama on whether the US government should be engaged in the bulk collection of American's phone records:

Leave a comment