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View Diary: Tom Engelhardt, Can Edward Snowden Be Deterred? (19 comments)

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  •  A good compendium (9+ / 0-)

    And the Snowden Affair is, I'm pretty sure, being followed very carefully by anyone with access to U.S. secrets who is uncomfortable with what they know. "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave"? Not from where I'm sitting, but I'm just some guy on the internet.

    I'm pretty sure the folks in SAVAK, the Stasi and NKVD all thought their activities would forever remain hidden from the public consciousness. But as the good book says, there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. The U.S. security apparatus looks like a latter-day version of the Keystone Kops of the silent film era.

    Here's a radical idea: Why not conduct our foreign policy on the up-and-up, keeping temporarily secret that which should be done quietly (negotiations between Israel and Palestine, for example), but otherwise being above board about our activities, goals and intentions? For the most part, the biggest secrets the government is most anxious to preserve seem to be the ones our government is keeping from Wethepeople (a notorious international gang of terrorists).

    •  No country in the world ever did it and it's (0+ / 0-)

      unlikely that any ever will. You acknowledge right here the need for some things to be 'kept quiet'. Do you think people like Snowden will respect that?

      •  I think I'm like Snowden. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit, 3goldens, aliasalias

        We seem to share the same values.  yeah, I'd keep it secret.

        MORE IMPORTANTLY, the rest of the country would be united about how that was something that had to be kept secret.

        Funny, though, how things like that ARE released regularly, almost daily, things about our relationships with foreign powers, and we even call them leaks, as if they are coming out of a crack in a leaky vessel, and we acknowledge that as something that just happens in a democracy, even if it's embarrassing.  

        You know, these people mad at Snowden for releasing this FISA document... I don't recall them being as mad when some anonymous person leaked to the New York Times the first details on Bush's domestic spying program.  That was effectively different how?  Because we didn't know who did it?  Because he didn't flee to Hong Kong?  Maybe he didn't have to.  Nobody was punished for it, that we know.  (Or worse, maybe he was, tossed in some black hole dungeon, and we were never told about it.)  If Snowden's leak about FISA are criminal, that initial leak had to be equally criminal.

      •  Did you miss the word "temporarily"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        Of course countries keep secrets. As the kids say, "No duh." But from what I can tell, the major driving force for keeping things secret is the potential for embarrassment for some government functionary. Close behind that motivation seems to be the functionary who classifies information simply because he can, and not because of any true security issues.

        Naturally, there are times when a country wants to say one thing publicly while doing something else entirely behind the scenes. It may very well be that the Cuban Missile Crisis was averted because the Soviet Union said one thing through official channels and something else through a back channel.

        Part of my objection, in addition to the two examples in the first paragraph, is that the shelf life of secrets has no apparent expiration date. World War I troop movements from 1917 were declassified just two years ago. Was there a valid national security reason for this, or was it just carelessness? If there was a valid reason, what changed in 2011 that made declassification all right? Or is that classified, too?

        As to Snowden, it appears from the reports I've seen that he has been very selective in the information he's released, careful not to compromise the position or identities of operatives (compare and contrast to the disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity when it was expedient for our country's leaders). What he has done, and which seems to have discombobulated a significant sector of the Washington Insider Group, is jump-started a national conversation on creeping government intrusiveness. Where will it lead? I don't know (and you probably don't, either), but it's about 10 years past time we got a reasonable public discussion going without one side making blanket treason accusations in order to squelch that discussion.

    •  well, okay, but (0+ / 0-)

      I for one would love to know more a bout our "negotiations between Israel and Palestine," if only to find out what "Shut up and sign, Abbas!" sounds like in diplomaticspeak.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 08:59:07 AM PDT

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