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What Snowden and Manning Don't Understand About Secrecy

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about a year ago


Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Investigative journalist Mark Bowden writes in the Atlantic that what is troubling about Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden is not that they broke the oaths they swore when they took their classified government jobs, but the indiscriminate nature of their leaks proceeding from a Julian Assange-influenced, comic-book vision of the world where all governments are a part of an evil plot against humanity. Bowden, the author of "Black Hawk Down" and "The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden", says there are many legitimate reasons for governments to keep secrets among them the need to preserve the element of surprise in military operations or criminal investigations, to permit leaders and diplomats to bargain candidly, and to protect the identities of those we ask to perform dangerous and difficult missions and the most famous leakers in American history were motivated not by a general opposition to secrecy but by a desire to expose specific wrongdoing. "Mark Felt, the “Deep Throat” who helped steer Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s Watergate reporting, understood that the Nixon Administration was energetically abusing the powers of the presidency. Daniel Ellsberg copied and leaked the Pentagon Papers because they showed that the White House and Pentagon had never really believed the lies they were telling about the Vietnam War." There have been a few things in the Manning and Snowden leaks that might have warranted taking a principled stand says Bowden, but the great bulk of what they delivered shows our nation’s military, intelligence agencies, and foreign service working hard at their jobs — doing the things we the people, through our elected representatives, have ordered them to do. "Both Manning and Snowden strike me not as heroes, but as naifs. Neither appears to have understood what they were getting themselves into, and, more importantly, what they were doing.""

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The only reason to read this article... (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44708791)

The only reason to read this article is to see how ham-fisted the the pro-NSA arguments are.

Manning got lots of accusations of being indiscriminate, but in the end the government itself said no one was harmed by the release -- probably because the classification of those documents was of the lowest order, half weren't even classified at all including the "Collateral Murder" video.

Meanwhile Snowden has been famously discreet with the documents he has released, so this charge of him being indiscriminate is just an outright lie.

The only bit of understanding he has contributed to the situation is that he himself is a sycophant and can't be relied on for an honest opinion.

Re:The only reason to read this article... (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44709107)

Indeed -- even the lumping together of Manning and Snowden appears to be attempting to use the failings of Manning to discredit Snowden (who did something completely different, although it's still whistleblowing).

Now that they've painted Snowden as a "brilliant contractor who was able to hack his way into information contractors shouldn't have access to" and have also raised questions as to his Russian relationship, the next step is to discredit him as not knowing what he was doing, and publishing information he did not fully understand. If they can get people to believe all of this, the only threat he is going forward is based on what he publishes -- and since they've killed his chance at fame, and he's already proven to be a responsible leaker, they can successfully keep people distracted by looking at the person and his failings instead of the importance of the data he's publishing (and what it says about those in power, not just in the US, but worldwide, as PRISM bread crumbs continue to be discovered throughout other global government agencies).

Re:The only reason to read this article... (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44711247)

In other news... Snowden was a deep Russian sleeper agent.

Re:The only reason to read this article... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44711715)

Who is going to return to the USA with new papers....
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