From the Archive: Often annoying her press colleagues, the late Helen Thomas was one of the few Washington journalists who would shatter the predictable frame for discussing tough issues. When she heard lazy rationalizations, Thomas would press the policymaker on why, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote in 2010.
Brandon Toy, an Iraq War veteran and a mid-level project manager at General Dynamics, concluded that what he had done and was doing went against the best principles of the United States – and so resigned with a declaration that if “every foot soldier threw down his rifle,” things might change, Dennis J Bernstein reports.
Exclusive: Courage, like cowardice, often comes in individual, incremental pieces building toward something great and honorable, or small and dishonorable. The resignation of Brandon Toy from General Dynamics fits into the former category and is so honored by an organization of former intelligence officials.
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.