Because of the excessive secrecy exercised by the U.S. government, whistleblowing has become a necessity for American democracy, a reality that struck home to former FBI official Coleen Rowley and other whistleblowers as they encountered Benjamin Franklin’s words in Germany.
Over-classification of U.S. government information is a grave threat to the Republic, giving politicians and bureaucrats the power to hide facts that aren’t really sensitive but are vital to a meaningful public debate, such as the IG report on President Bush’s surveillance program, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.
In January when former Western intelligence officials, including from the U.S. National Security Agency, toured the old offices of East Germany’s Stasi, it was a look back into a dystopian past but also a chilling reminder of how far modern surveillance has come in the past quarter century, writes Silkie Carlo.
In the post 9/11 era, the U.S. government vastly expanded its surveillance of nearly everyone on earth, even U.S. citizens, brushing aside constitutional protections in the name of security. A group of intelligence veterans urges reform of those practices to protect privacy and to stop the waste of resources.
Exclusive: For many years, the East German Stasi was viewed as the most totalitarian of intelligence services, relentlessly spying on its citizens during the Cold War. But the Stasi’s capabilities pale in comparison to what the NSA can now do, notes former U.S. intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray.