Glenn Greenwald, the lead reporter in the Edward Snowden case, asks us in this recent article, “Who is actually bringing ‘injury to America’: those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it’s being done?”
The Justice Department has charged Snowden under the 1917 Espionage Act. The amazing thing is that prior to the Obama administration, only three people had ever been charged under this act. Obama already has seven such prosecutions.
Worse, the Obama administration is quite selective; on the one hand, in using leaks of classified information when it’s to their advantage, and on the other hand, prosecuting any leaks that are politically damaging.
It is crucial that we see just how much we are being played and manipulated here, and I think Greenwald gets it very well, so let me quote him at length:
The Obama administration leaks classified information continuously. They do it to glorify the President, or manipulate public opinion, or even to help produce a pre-election propaganda film about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Obama administration does not hate unauthorized leaks of classified information. They are more responsible for such leaks than anyone.
What they hate are leaks that embarrass them or expose their wrongdoing. Those are the only kinds of leaks that are prosecuted. It’s a completely one-sided and manipulative abuse of secrecy laws. It’s all designed to ensure that the only information we as citizens can learn is what they want us to learn because it makes them look good. The only leaks they’re interested in severely punishing are those that undermine them politically. The “enemy” they’re seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It’s the American people.
The Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK.
They haven’t learned anything from these disclosures that they didn’t already well know. The people who have learned things they didn’t already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.
Ask yourself, what is the real reason for such extensive level of secrecy regarding these programs. Is it because the terrorists don’t suspect we are trying to surveil them in every possible way? Or is it because our elected officials are concerned the American people might not approve of such extensive surveillance, if we only knew just how extensive it is?