Over four years ago, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that he or other NSA analysts could spy on anyone, even the U.S. president. "I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to even the president, if I had a personal email," Snowden said in an interview with Glenn Greenwald in Hong Kong. We talk to Greenwald about the difference between how Washington reacted to Snowden’s leaks and today’s leaks about Gen. Michael Flynn.


ghostoffuffle:

Oy, Democracy Now(!). I love Glenn Greenwald, but this is super disingenuous.

    And yet, all I heard from Democrats—not all I heard, because there were a lot of Democrats who supported Manning and Snowden and Drake—but certainly Democratic officials in D.C. were almost unanimous, under Obama, in saying that leaks—leakers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that they’re traitors.

There's the rub. Conflating "Democratic Officials in D.C." who were "almost unanimous under Obama" with the unspecified "Democrats" in the title is misleading at best, and dumps the burden of hypocrisy on Democrats in general. You know who else was "almost unanimous" in condemning Manning and Snowden? Republican officials in D.C. under Obama. The Manning and Snowden leaks didn't uncover partisan divide so much as they uncovered a philosophical- and frankly totally predictable- difference between those in power and/or who stand at any point to gain power and those who just want to talk on their goddamn iPhone in peace. Snowden and Manning, to varying degrees, uncovered infrastructural mechanisms for abuse that could be used by anybody in power to bad effect; accordingly, pretty much everybody with their hands closest to the levers- Democrat and Republican- cried foul.

Meanwhile, I know next to nobody in my everyday life- Democrat, Republican or Other- who believed that what Snowden did was bad. Okay, let's be honest, I know a few conservatives that still think it. Illegal? Sure, because it was. That's the nature of civil disobedience. But the general consensus on the street is that Snowden did the necessary, and that Manning's actions, although very carelessly executed, didn't merit the sentence. NB- Manning was put in jail by a Democrat, but released by that selfsame Democrat.

So it drives me crazy- fucking. crazy. to read Democracy Now(!) articles that try to paint Democrats in general as somehow hypocritical because of the above. Mainly because then all my militant liberal Facebook acquaintances, still inexplicably bitter at Hillary Clinton and her perceived misdeeds, wallpaper my feed the next day with articles like this as their next gem of evidence that the current Democratic wing is corrupt and hypocritical because Bernie.

This is not that. Everybody in power hated what Snowden did, and a plurality if not a majority of those not in power celebrated what he did. Meanwhile, the current situation has underscored not systemic problems that need to be corrected for the good of the whole electorate, but a very current, temporary administration running roughshod over the systemic safeguards meant to uphold the good of the electorate. Basic conflict of interest regulations? Naw, we're not gonna pay attention to that. Private citizen undermining current presidential policies via back channels to international rivals? See no problem there.

If leaks are how these things come to light, I as a Democrat- and a citizen- applaud them just as I applauded Snowden. That's in full recognition of the fact that such leaks are illegal.

The only thing that surprises me at this point is that rogue actors in the intelligence community up to now have (openly) broken the rules only to uncover abuses of power rather than to perpetuate them. Who would have thought that safeguards to civil liberty would have arisen with such regularity from the agencies who enjoy the highest abuse potential.


posted by thenewgreen: 155 days ago