Tag Archives: Greenwald

Government Secrecy: Bad or Bad?

Greenwald uses a quote from a Washington Post article claiming (in the context of No Place to Hide) that “much of our government’s business [is] so large, so unwieldy, that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work”. By Google searching the quote, I was readily able to locate the original source, an article entitled “A hidden world, growing beyond control”, at the very first link.

In Greenwald’s context, the quote supports the claim that too much government business is “conducted in secret”. In the original source, Greenwald interestingly chose to leave out a few words when he quoted this evidence (found in the first paragraph). The original source says that the government’s business is “so large, so unwieldy, and so secretive”. Greenwald may have done this in order to hide the fact that the quote as a whole is not about government being conducted in secrecy, but it is merely a portion of the claim being made in the original piece. Leaving that part out creates the illusion that the entire quote is about government secrecy. The Washington Post article does not, in fact, talk about individual privacy being an issue whatsoever. It instead focuses on the claim that the government and its individual departments and agencies are growing so much that it is becoming counterproductive. Priest and Arkin, authors of the Post article, claim that this is occurring because the government is too secretive. If it was more transparent, its abundant wastefulness would be exposed, and it could be made more efficient. It does not claim that the NSA is too invasive; it claims that it collects unnecessarily copious amounts information that clog the inlet that useful information comes through. It claims “secrecy within the intelligence world hampers effectiveness”.

The evidence is reliable because its from a credible news source like the Washington Post. The quote is misleading in the Greenwald piece, however, because it leads the reader to believe that the Washington Post supports Greenwald’s claim. This is not necessarily true because the Washington Post never addresses that claim and goes about the issue of government secrecy in an entirely different direction. Therefore, the quote’s reliability is compromised because Greenwald evidently manipulates it to fit his claim, which is not the purpose it was originally intended to serve.

Whose Side is Congress on?

snowden cover

In this Edward Snowden interview James Bamford spends two weeks in Moscow to get the chance to interview Snowden. James Bamford asks Snowden about his life and work for NSA. Snowden talks about how he came to work for the CIA and then eventually the NSA. He talks about the doubts and troubles he had when first being exposed to larger and larger breaches of privacy. He tells Bamford about the first time he copied NSA information to be released later, while he was in Hawai’i in early 2012, and how as he moved up the ranks he became more and more disturbed, gathering more files all the while. Finally when Snowden got wind of MonsterMind, an NSA computer capable of starting cyber attacks autonomously, and the NSA director blatantly lying to the public he broke. That is when, on March 13, 2013, he decided to act.

 

Greenwald and Bamford have very similar views on Ed Snowden. They both agree with what he did, and that the NSA has gone too far. They both support him coming back home and receiving a fair trial, in short they both think Snowden was right and justified in what he did. Where they differ in opinion is much more interesting. While Greenwald denounces Congress, the President, and pretty much any other government body you care to name, Bamford is not so quick to hand out judgments.

Bamford very prominently displays that, “the US House of Representatives moves to put the brakes on the NSA. By a lopsided 293-to-123 tally, members vote to halt the agency’s practice of conducting warrantless searches of a vast database that contains millions of Americans’ emails and phone calls.” Bamford believes that Congress is against the NSA’s surveillance while Greenwald criticizes the way that Congress and the government act at every turn.

Greenwald condemns the whole US government, implying that they have taken away rights given in the Constitution (4th amendment) and the Declaration of Independence (pursuit of happiness, and to revolt). Giving the impression that nothing short of a complete overhaul can fix this problem. Bamford on the other hand believes in all three branches of the government, Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court, to help fix this issue. He believes that the NSA is one lone rouge branch that can and will be contained. While Bamford and Greenwald agree on Snowden, they cannot seem to agree on how we should fix this problem that has been exposed.

Snowden’s Motives

 

This article is a summary of the lives and possible motivation of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Assange. It goes into depth about the backgrounds of each and what could have sparked their interests and convictions that led them to where they are today. Firstly, the author of the articles starts off by explaining the “age of the leaker” that we live in. Many of the followers of these famous leakers applaud them for protecting the Constitution and the people, but the author hypothesizes that, “In fact, the leakers despise the modern liberal state, and they want to wound it… They want to spin the meaning of the documents they have released to confirm their animating belief that the United States is an imperial power, drunk on its hegemonic ambitions. ”

The passage on Snowden talks about his adolescence and more specific the content of his postings on the tech website, Ars Technica. Many of his posts are political banter and he actually condemns leakers at an earlier age. The author brings up the point that his posts do not coordinate time-wise with the plan that he stated he had in an interview. He stated that during the Bush administration era he was planning on leaking information because he was disgusted with the security policies of the administration. He halted when Obama promised a change to the policies, but then executed after he saw no change was coming. Though, Snowden was very committed to his philosophy, he needed Greenwald with his insight on politics and the media to put into straightforward words. As a result of the leak and the cooperation of Snowden and Russia, other countries including Russia have become upset with the U.S.’s internet policies, spying possibilities, and how American companies such as Facebook are handling their information. They want more control on internet companies like Facebook and Google.

While the majority of the article remains relatively neutral, the author paints a very negative picture of Snowden. Evidence of this can be seen in how he picks specific negative and sometimes derogatory posts from Snowden’s Ars Technica profile. Also, the author goes on to say that a lot of the information leaked, such as techniques used for foreign spying are not necessarily illegal, and the leaking this information could hinder our National Security. He does not think these leakers deserve any of the praise they have gotten because their motives are not to criticize to eventually help it, but instead to hurt it and try to destroy it.