Exclusive: Common citizens around the world may be alarmed at the NSA’s electronic dragnet prying into their personal lives, but reforms may focus mostly on the privacy of government leaders and corporate executives, writes Andrés Cala.
A common complaint from spy agencies is that they get blamed for “intelligence failures” when they miss something and they get attacked for “intelligence abuses” when they go too far with their espionage. The public veers from one type of “scandal” to the next, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.
President Obama declares his love of “transparency,” but has an odd way of showing it, meting out harsh punishments to people who give the public a glimpse into the vast darkness of U.S. secrets, including revoking Edward Snowden’s passport to stop him from seeking asylum, an action addressed by Norman Solomon.
Though former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been indicted for leaking secrets about the U.S. government’s intrusive surveillance tactics, he was honored by a group of former U.S. intelligence officials as a courageous whistleblower during a Moscow ceremony, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern who was there.
President Obama proclaims his love of “transparency” but has an odd idea what the word means. He generally defines it as sharing some information with Congress and the Courts but keeping the public in the dark and punishing those who ask too many questions, as William Blum explains.
After 9/11, the excuse for missing clues was too much data – trying to sip from a fire hose – but with the priority now excusing NSA spying, the metaphor is for more data – you can’t find a needle in a haystack without a haystack – a shift ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley dissects.
Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs might have been avoided if more members of Congress had done their duty to stay informed about these classified activities, rather than get distracted by the fluff of politics, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
P.R. experts are skilled at framing policy debates in favorable though misleading ways, like the “war on terror” or the “war on drugs.” What gets shielded by this packaging are the unstated goals, interests and outcomes that would draw popular opposition if known, writes Arjen Kamphuis.
Exclusive: Today’s crises – endless war, environmental catastrophe, desperate poverty and more – can seem so daunting that they paralyze action rather than inspire activism. But the imperative to do something in the face of injustice defines one’s moral place in the universe, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.