Though her Christian Democratic Union remains favored in upcoming German elections, Chancellor Angela Merkel is on the defensive over the “surveillance state” disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. One quirky turn came when a young German joked about visiting a U.S. spy base, Frank S. Grevil writes.
President Obama says he welcomes a vibrant debate on government secrecy and surveillance, but he then punishes the people who provide information that could make such a debate meaningful. The mainstream U.S. news media also shows little regard for these brave truth-tellers, says Lawrence Davidson.
Frustrated over negotiations for a stay-behind force of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, President Obama is now weighing the possibility of a faster withdrawal and a “zero option” on troops going forward. That may signal the belated recognition of twin American defeats in the Afghan and Iraq wars, says Beverly Bandler.
The Obama administration’s aggressive campaign against whistleblowers, including the court martial of Bradley Manning and the pursuit of Edward Snowden, has stirred strong passions among many Americans who are tired of endless war and the resulting sacrifice of freedom, as this letter from David Finkelstein reflects.
Using a powerful computer program known as PRISM, the U.S. government has been downloading vast amounts of communications data and mining it for counterterrorism purposes. But these capabilities began more than three decades ago with the controversial PROMIS software, Richard L. Fricker reports.
President Obama seems more willing to alienate his base of young supporters who object to the growing Surveillance State than to offend the national security apparatchiks who run it. But Obama’s crackdown on leakers also has found apologists among MSNBC’s “liberal” talkers, as Jeff Cohen reports.
Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization of former national security officials, has honored NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, praising his decision to reveal the extent of U.S. government electronic surveillance of people in the United States and around the world.
The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward, Marjorie Cohn writes.
In American politics and media, anyone who questions the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is banished to the margins of society. But this self-aggrandizing notion has always contained a large measure of self-deception, ignoring the suffering inflicted on other peoples and on U.S. soldiers, as Gary G. Kohls notes.
As the U.S. media turns on NSA leaker Edward Snowden – and as many Americans say they’re happy to trade some privacy for more security – samples of public opinion abroad are more sympathetic. An online poll by a major German daily reflects that sentiment, writes ex-Danish intelligence analyst Frank S. Grevil.