Joan, the War on Whistleblowers makes stronger whistleblowers in the same way the Survival of the Fittest makes stronger species: at a high cost.
Borrowing the title of a well-known book, America's government is an enemy of the people.
I blew a whistle on the company I worked for in Arizona. I was giving environmental info to taxpayer groups and company managers made a case that I had screwed up in my work. Happily, my immediate manager's reports said the opposite and I showed his reports to an attorney. The company heard that I had seen an attorney and started treating me very well--even raising my salary when I asked. For "insurance" I went public and ran in a Party primary for the legislature. (I didn't win but it was a terrific education in a reality few computer geeks see.) Company managers then used my information to pressure the State to buy a top-of-the-line computer suitable for high energy research in university science departments. I told an attormey I knew about it and the sale was canceled. One manager called me a traitor. I resigned after two years and moved to San Francisco where at 46 I started a low cost but long and WONDERFUL retirement. I met a few crooks in politics but I have met so many wonderful people that I will stay active until I stop breathing.
In the meantime we don't know if Snowden disappeared on his own or if some organisation made him disappear...
In Wikipedia, look for "Don Bolles" -- the reporter not the musician -- and read his story.
I knew him and his whistle blowing story. A few suggested it was a mafia killing but mafia hitmen are not as clumsy and don't leave trails that point to themselves. From newspaper clippings I'd saved, I added some info that points to others more likely to gain from the land fraud Bolles was exposing.
BTW: Bolles' brother Richard wrote the book "What Color Is Your Parachute?" for midlife job changers.
Okay ... before we start turning Edward Snowden into the King of the May, let's consider something:
All the revelations of secrets and so on that I've heard in recent days have been on the American's side of the ledger. Very simple question: WHAT ABOUT THE RUSSIANS? WHAT ABOUT THE CHINESE?!? Who is tipping their hand? Who is compromising their intelligence? Answer: No One That I Know Of!
Let's keep something in mind: the Cold War may be over, but that doesn't mean that all is lovey-dovey between the aforementioned powers. China is waging an unremitting cyber campaign against the US (probably among others), and Russia may be sponsoring a similar effort out of Bulgaria. The US has a considerable monitoring and defensive organization operating out of the NSA and may already have takent he offensive, themselves. Meantime, both Russian and China still have their covert intelligence organizations still operating, yet I don't see Julian Assange posting anything from either country's espionage agencies.
Snowden and Assange, among others, have compromised OUR intelligence efforts, which effectively give a competing country or organization a significant advantage over us, certainly in the public domain. When these two and the others like them want to take a shot at the other side of the coin, I may consider changing my opinion of them.
As it is, should either of them fall within the cross-hairs of someone's sniper rifle, I won't shed tear one.
Loren, I'm going to risk your anger.
Surely you know that terms like "King of the May" reveal emotions you are feeling but not disclosing.
While A/N doesn't require any of us to disclose our emotions, they do influence our views.
If Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame/infamy, had fallen within the cross-hairs of someone's sniper rifle, would you have shed tear one?
You ask who is compromising Russian or Chinese intelligence and reply "No One That [you] Know Of!"
The Russian or Chinese governments won't tell you. Their whistleblowers and our government won't tell you.
Yep, something in the Snowden story has angered you
Okay, I'll take you from my verbal crosshairs and look at whistleblowers and their important functions.
There are few limits on the ambitions of those who rule nations. Because America's founders didn't want the fear of assassination to be the only limit on the ambitions of those who would rule, they devised a variety of checks and balances. Today we know they succeeded in part and failed in part.
Along with espionage, in both business and politics, whistleblowers serve to limit ambition. They moderate the excesses of competition.
Yes, some people benefit from tooth and claw competition. It's their ambitions the rest of us have to limit.
Tom, my only point is that, in large portion, Edward Snowdon and Julian Assange are being lionized for pulling the pants down on the American intelligence community in general and the NSA in particular. I submit that, by comparison with whatever took the place of the KGB after the Soviet Union fell and what the Chinese use for external intelligence gathering, those were easy pickings. The US, for all its secrecy, remains an OPEN SOCIETY, vastly more so than the other two examples I have cited. I'm still waiting for Assange to publish a highly classified document from either or both of them ... and I'm just about willing to bet a cup of coffee that that never happens, or that I don't live to see it.
As for Snowden ... well, let me tell a story to let you know where I stand. The NSA's Special Projects Laboratory at Fort Meade, Maryland was a customer of mine for a fair while. They had a pair of testers in a lab environment and another pair in the SPL cleanroom, three of which I did the installation on and all four serviced on a regular basis. Now ... ordinarily, once a computer or computerized device is connected to the NSA network, Only NSA Employees Are Supposed To Use Those Computers. If you ain't got a clearance, no touchie! The fact is, before 9/11 and after repeated visits for various reasons, my contacts there allowed me to run the necessary processes and diagnostics on those machines, sometimes even without their supervision. No, they didn't give out passwords; they had to log me in, but once I was in, to put it simply, They Trusted Me. I'm still astonished to even be able to say that, knowing how rigorous NSA security was even then. After 9/11, of course, no more doing my own tests. I could handle the hardware and take my measurements with my DVM, but someone else had to type in the commands at my direction. If I had wanted that same freedom after it hit the fan, SOMEONE would have had to spend somewhere between $25,000 and $100,000 to get me a clearance ... and there's enough screwiness to me that my guess is I wouldn't have been cleared.
Yet Snowden was cleared, probably considerably above the level I operated at ... and he violated the trust given him, and yeah, that irks me. I suppose that part of it is the fact that I had an established relationship with the people I worked with, from 1991 to 2006. They were good people, at least two of whom I considered friends as much as customers, and I felt honored that they trusted me during part of that time. Just a guess, but my take is that Snowden felt no such investment.
Now ... maybe it'd be great if NO ONE had to keep secrets ... EVER. The fact is that they do exist and at some level have to be kept. Having only one side forced to show its hand isn't just inequitable, it's fucking DANGEROUS, certainly with a former KGB goon like Putin in charge of Russia, and this new cat in China is likely little better. If Snowden is ever actually caught, more than likely we're looking at the judicial system in action. Ditto for Assange. If someone pulled the same crap in the PRC or the Russian Federation, an order for "termination with extreme prejudice" wouldn't surprise me in the slightest ... which is why Assange still hasn't done anything with Russian or Chinese intelligence and why I doubt he or his organization ever will.
Last thought: what if all those at the NSA and the NRO and the CIA decided to say, "Fuck it!" and spilled their guts to the New York Times or the Washington Post? How fast do you suppose our enemies would take advantage of that treasure trove and make us hurt for it? How much do you think they're running with it NOW? If we were talking about a level playing field, it would be one thing, but, again, even with our secrets, we play with one hand tied behind our back because We're An Open Society ... and they AREN'T.
Do me the favor of NOT trying to psychoanalyze the above. If you really want to piss me off ... that'll do it.
Loren, thank you for clarifying your views.
They are too well thought out and we probably agree on too much for me psychoanalyze.
We probably agree and don't need detailed support for the following:
1) open societies are more at risk from the outside than from the inside,
2) closed societies are more at risk from the inside than from the outside, and
3) the leaders of closed societies more easily "disappear" those they suspect.
We probably agree that societies in transition from open to closed are more at risk from inside than are societies that remain open.
We might not agree that since WW2 the USofA has been in transition from open to closed.
The source of the risk? Whistleblowers.
Who are angry?
1) People who don't want to lose their civil liberties, and
2) People who believe their leaders can do no wrong.
BTW, we probably agree that you use more colorful prose than I do.
Another point, Loren. I recall hearing or reading a few times that:
1) the American people are sovereign and the government serves the people, and
2) as the Declaration says, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ....
When in 1953 the CIA overthrew an elected government in Iran, American foreign policy came onto a collision course with Americans' civil liberties.
Not because that was the first time America had interfered in a foreign nation, but because people from the part of the world in which America had interfered responded so devastatingly in America.
I thought I'd put this up for fun.