Try to put PRISMgate, the ugly spying, the evil mass surveillance and the gross politics aside momentarily. Please try, because we’ve got a real problem here from which we mustn’t let ourselves be distracted: our government cannot keep top secrets secret! Tip top secrets at that.

We live in a competitive, adversarial world. Transparency is a nice happy thing for Google to tout but our government absolutely must have the capacity to keep certain things secret, they are proving to be remarkably ineffective at that lately, and that needs to be corrected for our sake and that of our allies who by now must get pretty iced up when attempting to have candid conversations with our diplomats given our sieve-like reputation. That our government does things most of us would disdain does not outweigh the need for it to be able to keep things secret, not by a longshot.

Sure, it’s tricky to keep a thing a lot of people are involved with, a thing that rubs some of those people the wrong way like this PRISM mess, secret forever, but we cannot cultivate an environment that leads citizens to believe that if they expose the government with its pants down engaging in something unpopular or even reprehensible that they will be given a pass. Would another way to deter the practice be to avoid engaging in things like PRISM? Maybe, and if that’s your concern, it’s on you to correct that with your votes as this flew smoothly through Congress, your elected officials now making a bipartisan effort to defend the NSA.

In the interest of deterring further breaches and not making it more difficult for our government to protect us from its enemies, however much political capital it would cost to fine, imprison or hang Edward Snowden high, treason and espionage are in the books for a good reason (treason is actually the only crime defined by the Constitution) and he should be dealt with accordingly. Especially if the man in question is or was ever a member of our military, the NSA, the CIA and our defense contractors, like this guy – who by the way had EFF and Tor stickers on his laptop! He’s got those stickers on his laptop and top secret clearance? What the hell is that? EFF and Tor stickers, that’s more of a red flag than stickers of actual red flags! Man..

So, word is he’s currently hiding in Hong Kong, might make a run to Iceland. Eddie seems uninterested in answering for what his “good conscience” told him to do. So, mount up, either reel him in or find and take care of him in a manner that gives the next guy some pause before breaking out his trusty USB stick, starting Tor and uploading spicy state secrets to the whole world. Opting not to do that for political considerations is wrong and it does not correct anything, rather it compounds a problem.

Doug Simmons

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Biographical info.. hmm. I have a history of not being able to strike the balance between what is “safe” to put into these forms and what is, in my mind at least, funny. Can’t do it.

10 COMMENTS

  1. When is someone at the Gov finally going to come clean about Bigfoot? LOL Sorry, this is a very good article and I am just trying to lighten the mood before any more Windows Phone game developers stop following us on Twitter.

  2. Ram: Yeah, and he’s a good, bright kid, making an extraordinary sacrifice to do what he (and many others) think is the right thing. But that is irrelevant. I am not weighing in on PRISM, just about keeping those with highly privileged access to information in check. With leaks of this magnitude, heads should roll. The decision to leak something like this should be made with the presumption that you will be treated (though maybe not on Youtube) as a traitor and that it will cost you everything. Secondly, every conceivable effort should be made, if they’re not being made already, in organizations like the NSA to extinguish runaway trains before they start shopping around their story to different newspapers around the world, buying plane tickets and making Youtube videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM).

    Liberalist: Perhaps I shouldn’t have implied that the whistleblower should be covertly assassinated if extradition becomes too hairy, but I agree and hope that this is treated solely as a judicial concern and that it is afforded total political insulation so that, for example, Obama, of whom I’m a big fan, won’t let him go with a wrist slap because his people ran the numbers and it would make the situation look worse not to go easy on him.

    Hey Smith, what do you think?

    As for PRISM itself, I’m a big Google Analytics junkie, I’m kind of curious if they used similar sorts of math to sift anything actionable out of the data. But I can appreciate why some would find it wildly objectionable and why others would find it a necessary evil. That’s a problem that should be treated separately from the whistleblowing.

  3. Simmons: He is bright, clever, and whatever good qualities you want to decorate him with, I am ok. But he can’t resist he urge to leak out and probably $ could buy anything even the bright and good. Thats why his heart went for price.

  4. By the way, I should have spelled this out in the article, but the EFF is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, kind of like that group that tries to get people off of death row, except more Internet-oriented. Do-gooders, privacy fanatic stuff, net neutrality was a big deal for them, etc.

    And Tor is the thing you use if you want to visit a website, download or upload data in a manner that is really hard for anyone either on the opposite end or anyone watching from the outside to try to figure out who you are, your IP.

    There are others but Tor is the sort of thing you might use to leak classified information to the Guardian or Wikileaks, the EFF is the organization you’d probably contact and want to have your back as you hurl the shit at the fan.

    As for the stickers, and whatever activities he may have done to contribute to the Tor project or the EFF, not the smartest thing to advertise in his context.

  5. Ram: I’m not sure I follow, you mean he didn’t leak this because he couldn’t sleep at night knowing how evil this PRISM is, but because he was enticed by the likes of the Guardian paying him for his story? Seems hard to believe that accepting any amount of cash would strike someone in his shoes as the rational move to take.

    But if cash had anything to do with this, I bet he insisted on bitcoin.

  6. If someone is ditching his/her country and treason with, then there would be only two reasons, 1. Price, 2. Price.
    There could be any other reason to treason with, but the ultimiate goal is Price. This price could be $, girls or fighting with higher ups and losing everytime and becoming more and more angry and finally losing patience and falling for the enemies one fine moment. Whatever be the reason, like you said our Government should be strict with these leakage causers. It should make these secrets more secret, not open source secrets.

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