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NSA Surveillance

Snowden’s Shameful World Tour

Being a security person, and believing that extrodinary measures are required to keep us safe from
the increasing terrorist threat…   I maintain that Edward Snowden is a total coward, now that he has launched his travel from the US to China to Russia, and presumably, Cuba, Venezuela and Equador.

His judgement on many things is in question, especially in taking advice from another coward, Julian Assange, who’s been living in a small Embassy in the UK for a year.

Perhaps he could make a case that he thought US taxpayers had a right to more details about their tax dollars at work – the NSA’s surveillance programs, but he certainly DOES NOT have the right to disclose any classified program information to other nations, like China and Russia – just to name 2.

He DOES NOT have the right to stir up suspicions between nations, sort of a misguided meddler, basically selling out US secrets to a hostile world, and who knows who’s paying for all the international travel?  Is he handling out secrets for free, or is he selling out our country for financial gain?

His cowardice is illustrated by his total fall into the “What’s Good for Me” logic, which totally ignores issues of national security, destruction of trust between nations, and these actions compromise every statement he’s made so far.

He made himself into a 7-day media star.  He got his 15-plus minutes of fame, and now, he obviously has done a little more thinking about his choices, so he’s totally intent on protecting himself from any penalities, any recriminations, any dialogue with the US over the far-reaching implications of his bad choices.

For these reasons, and quite a few more, and mostly because I believe that he threatens our hope for a more peaceful world, I hope that other nations will grab him, return him to the US – to face the music he chose.

More distrust, more self-absorbed leakers, more lack of respect for the laws that govern civilized countries, is just not something we need right now.

NSA Hearings on the Hill

NSA is answering questions this morning about their mega data collection of phone call destinations, before the House Intelligence Committee.

Having worked with NSA for years, I decided to watch the hearings and hear what General Keith Alexander had to say.   Of course, I have a family history with congressional hearings.

For myself, I’m in total agreement with NSA that they should be LISTENING, COLLECTING and ANALYZING intelligence so we can know what is happening all over our complex world and be in a position to prevent catastrophic attacks by those terrorists using their religion like a free pass to kill, maim and attack.

My father died over ten years ago, but one of my favorite memories of him is that is, while he was suffering from cancer, he never missed a Congressional hearing.  He sat with a TV Tray in front of him, with a stack of monogrammed notepaper, envelopes and stamps.

As the hearings progressed (I especially remember him watching Iran-Contra), he would write to each of the congressmen and senators, telling them how he judged their questions, writing to them about mistakes he thought they made.  This was true democracy in action.  From his pen right to the powers-that-be.    And he took his responsibility in this very seriously.

I hope everyone starts watching, learning and taking their role in our democracy as seriously!  An attention-seeking junior technician is having his 5 minutes of fame, and I hope that the great work of the US intelligence community is not going to be slowed down or damaged by his thoughtless disclosures. He should start writing letters to HIS elected representatives.