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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quote Of The Day

June 13th, 2013

"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

-- Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Real Snowden Story Isn't About The NSA. It's About China.

June 12th, 2012
by F. Grey Parker

Image via Policy Mic
The public discussion over the NSA'a massive and ongoing invasion of American privacy is essential. 

It's also long overdue. 

This is because not much of the information which 29 year old former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, has revealed is actually new.

More than seven years ago, USA Today broke the story:
"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added."
The fact that we now know this longstanding program is called "PRISM" and we've seen the NSA's shoddy Power Point presentation outlining its purpose doesn't change the fact that this is old news.

Some are wondering where the outrage was seven years ago when those of us who tried to raise the alarm were savaged for doing so. Nevertheless, everyone seems to care all of a sudden. Welcome to the party, kids.

Snowden has become a hero to some, a villain to others, and the discussion is turning to whether or not the NSA revelations amount to treason. I tend to think they do not.

However, Snowden didn't just leak information regarding domestic security and privacy. Using the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald as his conduit, he also managed to reveal our nation's covert strategy to counter China's massive and ongoing cyber-attacks against our nation's business and government internet servers.

Following the lead of his source, Greenwald published this classified information at precisely the time President Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. What made this all the more jaw-dropping was the publicly announced agenda for this summit.

Via Reuters:
"Meeting at the luxurious Sunnylands estate near Palm Springs in California, Obama will seek Xi's assurance that he takes seriously accusations of growing Chinese cyber spying, including snooping on advanced U.S. weapons designs.
"All nations need to abide by international norms and affirm clear rules of the road," a senior U.S. official told reporters. "That's the backdrop to the discussions that the two presidents will have."
Instead of heading into this meeting with some advantage, Snowden ensured that our President was proceeding from a position of weakness.

The China leak was of no benefit to the American people. It was utterly unrelated to domestic privacy. It had no impact on our personal freedoms. But, it sure was a victory for the People's Republic.

When Snowden outed himself two days later, he did so from a hotel in Hong Kong.

The optics aren't just shady, they're shocking.

It appears that Edward Snowden may have ginned up new interest in an old story, however serious, in order to pave the way for the release of information that dramatically damages America's foreign policy.

Today, the AP reports:
"The former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs said in a new interview in Hong Kong on Wednesday that he is not attempting to hide from justice here but hopes to use the city as a base to reveal wrongdoing."
So, he intends to continue leaking covert information.

It will be very interesting to see who actually benefits from this.

PRISM is a travesty and a violation of our basic principles. It must be stopped.

But Snowden is not only no hero, he may be something much worse.