The Washington Post has an entire story on a new poll on National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden that leads with the statistic that cases Snowden in the most negative light.
Americans increasingly believe that former federal contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of U.S. surveillance programs damaged national security, even as the programs have sparked widespread privacy concerns, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found.The WaPo poll asked if Snowden harmed national security by "disclosing NSA's intelligence-gathering efforts," rather the asking about what Snowden actually revealed: the NSA's wasteful and illegal conduct.
Moreover, the poll did not ask if NSA harmed national security by spying on entire innocent populations or wasting time invading the constitutionally-protected privacy rights of hundreds of millions of innocent Americans.
Given that the U.S. government has been using its many loud megaphones to announce that Snowden "harmed national security" since June, it is not surprising that too many Americans are swallowing the fear-mongering propaganda. However, despite spending considerable government resources looking for it, none of these outspoken government officials have been able to point to any actual, discernible harm to national security as a result of the Snowden revelations.
This is not the first time the government has been unable to supports its hysterical claims of harm to national security. In the case against whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the government's claims of damage to national security were overblown to say the least:
Reuters reported that internal reviews said that the release of diplomatic cables and "tens of thousands of military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan" had "caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration's public statements to the contrary."The government lobbed similar unfounded accusations at NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, saying Drake harmed soldiers in the field. Drake was charged with "retaining" at his home what turned out to be unclassified information. He also shared with a reporter unclassified evidence of massive waste, fraud, abuse and illegality at NSA.
"We were told [the impact of WikiLeaks revelations] was embarrassing but not damaging," a congressional aide told Reuters.
WaPo's poll also revealed that - as a result of Snowden's revelations - most Americans believe NSA's dragnet surveillance intrudes upon their privacy rights, a statistic that no doubt resonates with many Members of Congress considering that there are now over 20 surveillance reform bills. The American public is seeing unprecedented transparency in national security policy thanks to Snowden's whistleblowing, yet the WaPo's polling questions play into the government's self-interested and unfounded claim that the surveillance state protects national security.