After a brief flurry of aggressive journalism in the 1970s, the mainstream U.S. press has grown steadily more tame, transforming itself into what might be called the government’s “semi-official” news agencies – another “secret” brought out by the case of Edward Snowden, as media critic Jeff Cohen notes.
Despite U.S. government pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is balking at demands that he extradite Edward Snowden from Moscow to face espionage charges for leaking secrets about America’s global surveillance operations. Still, Snowden’s status remains dicey, as Marjorie Cohn explains to Dennis J Bernstein.
During World War II, the U.S. military and public were told “loose lips sink ships,” perhaps a worthy wartime reminder. But the seemingly endless “war on terror” has made government hostility to openness part of America’s permanent wartime mentality, a dangerous development, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
Many are beginning to wonder if the Internet was America’s great “Trojan horse” gift to the world, a clever way to get past barriers and into everyone’s private information. The recent PRISM spying disclosures have especially riled Europeans. But there are techniques for fighting back, says Dutch technology expert Arjen Kamphuis.
The attack line against whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – that they should have gone through “proper channels” – ignores that those oversight channels have been badly corrupted over the past several decades. That has left Americans dependent on out-of-channel leaks, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
In lifting the curtain of secrecy only slightly, the Obama administration says U.S. surveillance of telephone and Internet communications has helped disrupt dozens of terror plots and is subjected to rigorous checks and balances. But the continued secrecy shows the need for whistleblowers, writes ex-British intelligence official Annie Machon.
President Obama has alienated much of his liberal base by coming across increasingly as a toady to the Establishment, with his defense of drone strikes, his embrace of the surveillance state and his prosecution of anti-secrecy whistleblowers, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
More than a decade ago, as President George W. Bush sought legal cover for invading Iraq, the National Security Agency spied on key UN diplomats with the hope of blackmailing them. But British intelligence officer Katharine Gun leaked the secret and – like Edward Snowden today – changed the debate, Marcia Mitchell recalls.
From the Archive: Only public outrage – global and domestic – stands any hope of pushing back the National Security Agency’s “surveillance state.” As hard as that may be, there was success a decade ago disrupting President George W. Bush’s Orwellian Total Information Awareness that Nat Parry described in 2002.
Exclusive: U.S. government officials insist that their secret surveillance techniques are so valuable in fighting “terrorism” that they must be kept completely in the dark – along with the American people. This alleged imperative has justified even lying to Congress, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern observes.