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.
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.
In the many grays of statecraft, there are many gradations in lying. Some lies have grave consequences, including war and loss of life, while artful wording sometimes can cool down a crisis and save lives. The differences are not insignificant, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
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.
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.
Exclusive: There’s an old saying that a reporter is only as good as his sources, meaning that there’s a need for people inside government who see wrongdoing to speak up. It is also a test of a democratic Republic whether truth-tellers like Edward Snowden are appreciated or persecuted, ex-intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray notes.
Truly objective journalism would value facts and accuracy above all else, but the mainstream U.S. press – while pretending to be “objective” – treasures faux patriotism much more, as is evident with recent whistleblowers as it was with the hostility toward the late Phil Agee who exposed CIA crimes, as William Blum recalls.
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.