Wednesday, February 05, 2014

1288 What Bothers Us About Snowden

Edward Snowden is the American computer scientist and former contractor with the National Security Agency who leaked information on just how much spying the NSA is doing.

He’s been hailed in some quarters as a hero and maligned in others as a traitor.  And at the moment, he’s living in exile in Russia.  

The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Russia.  But even if it did, what would it matter to them?  It’s Russia, after all.

Many of us have been pondering about what makes this guy and what he did so chilling.  Yes, he disclosed classified stuff.  That’s illegal.  But maybe so are the acts he disclosed.  We don’t know that yet.

The moral issue: by getting us into a passel of trouble with our allies and not so very allied allies did he mess up something we haven’t noticed?  Yes he has.

A friend wrote the other day that what Snowden did was in effect rob us of our myths.  And in doing so, he took other countries’ myths down with them.

Here’s what he wrote “Snowden upset the balance of lies that all nations operate under. They all spy on each other and themselves, but the public, the masses, are not involved.

“Snowdon involved and upset the masses.

“He put the US in a position of having to deal with the feelings of irrelevant people in other counties and our own. Nothing meaningful will change but we have to waste time with cosmetics.”

In olden times, during the height of the red scare, where people like Joe McCarthy were finding commies behind every boy scout leader, school teacher, butcher, baker and candlestick maker, people said don’t be too aggressive, the real communists will just burrow farther underground.

They were right then and they’re right now when they tell us the spy agencies here and elsewhere will just go deeper below, like the worms and moles they are.

There will be court decisions which nations will ignore.  There will continue to be a public outcry.

But at least now, we know more of what’s going on and what to expect.

What’s hard to figure is what they do with all that stuff.  Billions of lines of data, likely each one leading or linking to a page of details.

No one can read all of it.  So probably, they have computer programs to pick out key words.  

This, of course, will provoke terrorists to form a new vocabulary just as the mob did in the relatively primitive early days of phone taps and bugs at social clubs.


Attack (n): Playground.
Attack (v): bathe
Improvised Explosive Device: Ice cream cone.
Shoe bomb: Gold Toe
Underwear bomb: Boxers (or briefs.)
Car bomb: Edsel.


--The best Super Bowl ad was the one from Dish network seen only by subscribers. No big drama in this one, or cute puppies or patriotic American songs sung in (shudder) foreign languages. It was a simple un-animated blue slate with two words at center: “No Signal.”

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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