A Millennial’s Hubris

And so a myopic, self-appointed millennialist crusader with limited vision, understanding and analysis has set the course of global security back in ways that are yet to be identified.  His particular sensitivities inflamed by a perceived affront to his notions of process, rather than making any effort to work within the system, he opts for the most globally destructive,  least-tailored sledge-hammer approach to correcting the system.  And in terms way too smug for the damage done and the lives potentially affected, declares with self-satisfaction “I’ve already won” .

No, I don’t agree with him, his approach, his attitude or his plan.  I think he was /is on an ego trip, the cost of which has yet to be determined.

Assuming, for the sake of argument,  that surveillance measures were over the top and too invasive.  There is certainly room for discussion about the reach of the various programs, both in terms of how they came to be and what they were intended to accomplish.  But these are governmental programs, established by the Executive Branch, overseen by the Legislative, and approved by the Judicial.  Two of those three branches are elected by the people, the third appointed and approved by those elected representatives.  So where does a thirty-year old computer geek get off deciding that not only are these wrong, but that he and he alone shall decide how to publicize the issues and the amount of information that is necessary to make public to do this?  Was there any thought about how else this could have been done?  Was there any consideration to the collateral consequences around the world? Apparently he opted for a thermonuclear option….take out everything in a single strike without thought about how to minimize the amount of damage that would occur to accomplish the goal, because HE thought it was wrong.  What arrogance and conceit.

Least it appear that I’m totally and rigidly in the Government’s corner, I’m not.  I understand why the vacuum cleaner approach to gathering information was chosen — it was the public and the 9-11 committees that decreed that the intelligence agencies had failed to connect the dots.  So they took the fastest approach, to gather more dots in an effort to see the pattern sooner.  The only way to do this? No, but understandable given that the challenges of learning how in interpret different cultures and religions in short order were almost insurmountable objects.  Did the sweeps reach too far?  Very likely.  The arrangements by which physical access was granted, and the information transferred by other paths, was questionable.  Security and intelligence professionals tend to view things in highly pessimistic and narrow perspectives.  They almost have to, in order to do their job.  Those who provide oversight needed to realize this, needed to have a better handle on alternative approaches or appreciation of consequences.  Clearly those providing oversight failed.

However, the consequence of the disclosures are the more substantive problems.  To display to the enemy — to those whose intent is to wreak havoc and terrorism and to instill fear and promote reaction-ism — the information, the means and methods of the intelligence craft, is unfathomably foolish.  It not only initiates the desired debate on surveillance, it sets the entirety of the intelligence arena back a decade without providing any opportunity for a phased solution.

In the history of nation states, certain name will always carry an odor….Benedict Arnold, Marshal Petain, Vidkun Quisling, Klaus Fuchs.  Now, in the modern global, interconnected society, there will be another name. Snowden.


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