The editors of the New York Times are demanding that the “shrill brigade” of Edward Snowden’s critics stop “vilifying” him, and learn to love it when libertarians recklessly steal hundreds of thousands of secret intelligence documents: Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower.
You can probably tell what I think of this hyper-emotional editorial from that introduction. President Obama should “give [Snowden] an incentive to return home?” Are they serious?
But I have to wonder how the New York Times thinks our allies would react if the US decided that every libertarian dudebro system administrator has the right to decide what’s secret and what’s not, and steal as many documents as they like?
At the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus provides a much-needed counter-balance to this ludicrous NYT editorial: Snowden, the Insufferable Whistleblower.
My scale weighs against Snowden. He launched an important, overdue debate and reassessment of collection practices. Perhaps that would not have happened otherwise. The intelligence community is reaping the bitter rewards of its combined aversion to transparency and its addiction to employing available technology to maximum potential.
Yet the existing oversight, while flawed, is not as feckless as Snowden portrays it, and the degree of intrusion on Americans’ privacy, while troubling, is not nearly as menacing as he sees it. In the government’s massive database is information about who I called and who they called in turn. Perhaps the government shouldn’t have it; surely, there should be more controls over when they can search it. But my metadata almost certainly hasn’t been scrutinized; even if it has, the content of the calls remains off-limits.
If the scope of Snowden’s theft and subsequent disclosures had been as limited, my scale might balance in the opposite direction. But the theft was massive. The injury to intelligence-gathering is of equal magnitude. “I am still working for the NSA right now,” Snowden announced. “They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
Orwell might have called that double-think.
Nice to see a sign of common sense in the Village media, a commodity in very short supply when it comes to the Snowden story.
And by the way, Glenn Greenwald has amazingly found the courage to go on the same program with Marcus today:
I’ll be watching; and I predict Greenwald will try to slime Marcus, a centrist liberal columnist, because she’s married to Democrat Jon Leibowitz.