Saturday, July 6, 2013
What's Your Opinion of Edward Snowden's actions ?
I've been following this whole mess that Mr Snowden created for himself, and I've bounced around on what my actual feelings are this entire time. Now I've pretty much decided that he is both a Traitor and a Coward. My main bitch about this situation is with Boozer-Allen, for not vetting this little wannabe Julian Assange ! They, (Boozer-Allen), should have all their present Government contracts voided, and refund any money they have been advanced on said contracts.
These Private Sector Contractors may have saved Us from building ever-enlarging bureaucracies, but in both Wars, and now in the Security Sector, the Contractors have turned out to be more trouble than they are worth. I blame Dick Cheney, but that's another article in itself.
Now, back to Mr Snowden. The question I had to ask myself was; "Would We Liberals all have had the same High Regard we had for Daniel Elsberg, If he had run off to a foreign Nation as soon as he released The Pentagon Papers?". I don't think so, as a main part of being a "Whistleblower", is to have the courage of your convictions, and being willing to 'face the music', 'pay the piper', etc.
What I've observed about Snowden's big revelations, is that he has only "outed" what everyone who cares has known since 9-11, and those who are informed about such things were fully cognizant of Every other Nation's efforts to glean every bit of intelligence they can, both about their enemies and friends, by pretty much any means possible. Yes, the end of the Cold War probably saw a lessening of traditional espionage, and yes, the advent of the Internet was a Bonanza for Intelligence agencies in general, but what has taken Us to the point of a Prism Program, was our sudden realization, via the 9-11 attacks, that a good portion of the World's population hates Our American Guts !
In my opinion, the worst thing about electronic surveillance and collection, is that we, the USA, lost or abandoned our vast networks of "Humintell" following the fall of the USSR. Another huge failure of our Intelligence Agencies was to lose touch, and stop supporting the Mujaheddin following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. That failure led directly to the rise of both the Taliban, and to the rising power of Osama Bin Laden.
Whenever I mention OBL's name, I have a flashback to the Iran-Contra Hearings in the Senate. At one point in those hearings, then Tennessee Senator Al Gore asked Colonel Ollie North why he had installed a $100,000 dollar Security System in his home. Colonel North answered, "Because a very bad man has threatened to kill me and my Family". Smiling, Al asked North, " Just who is this "Very Bad Man", and Ollie replied, "His name is Usama Bin Laden".*
Now Folks, those hearings were held in 1987, a full 14 years prior to 9-11, 2001, and 10 or 12 years before Al Queda blew up the USS Cole,...So, can we agree that CIA, NSA, and FBI dropped that ball Big Time ? Additionally, in that 14 year span, we had the Beirut Marine Barracks, various Embassy attacks, "Black Hawk Down" in Somalia, and many other incidents that should have been instructive to Us, and made us aware that a well-funded, and highly organized entity had declared War on Us.
So, to return to Today's problem of people like Edward Snowden, and the young Bradley Manning. Now, I believe that Private Manning was offended and outraged by the actions of coalition Troops that he observed in his position in Army Intelligence, and that he thought the world would benefit from his disclosures. The hard fact remains that Private Bradley swore and oath to defend his Country, and he knew full well that he was only in a position to access such information because he had had the Background checks, and advanced security ratings to be working at that level in the first place. Manning should have gone to his Superiors, or even his Unit Chaplain with his problem, Not revealed it to a malicious, anti-American foreigner !
On the other hand, I believe Snowden is, and was, seeking Fame and Fortune. He expected The Guardian to pay him, for Foreign Governments and Leaders to greet him as a hero, and to return home at some point, as the fair-haired Boy of the Liberal Media ! Obviously, lil' Edward was a victim, a victim of Right-Wing propaganda, which told him that the Media, and All Liberals hate America, despise our Government, and will do anything to damage either. Nobody told him that the Press and Media People who travel the World, embed with Our Armed Forces, and spend time in other Nations, are some of the Most Patriotic, because, like Veterans such as myself, we've seen how the rest of the world lives, seen what freedoms we have here, and wouldn't live anywhere else on the globe but right here in the U.S.A. So, suck it Eddie, I hope you end up in The Gulag !
* I want to acknowledge that some of the background of this article was drawn from my recent re-reading of Former National Security Adviser Richard A. Clarke's excellent book "Against All Enemies" a book I highly recommend for those who want to know more about the lead-up to 9-11, and the Bush Administration's failures which took us There.