Thursday, July 15, 2010

Glenn Greenwald: "The vast majority" of gov't secrecy is about avoiding embarrassment and accountability, not about nat'l security


Former NSA senior exec Thomas Drake faces up to 35 years in prison for leaking to the media "what he saw [according to Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post] as waste, mismanagement and a willingness to compromise Americans' privacy without enhancing security" in the agency, after being stonewalled by its bureaucracy. His prosecution has nothing to do with national security, says Glenn Greenwald -- it's just covering up government embarrassment.

"Secrecy is the religion of the political class, and the prime enabler of its corruption. That's why whistle blowers are among the most hated heretics."
-- Glenn Greenwald, in "The motive

by Ken

Glenn has been tracking the story of Obama administration whistle-blower prosecutions, which have been pursued as relentlessly as in any right-wing regime, if not more so. Indeed, in the above-referenced Washington Post on the prosecution of NSA whistle blower Thomas Drake, DoJ spokesman Matthew Miller was quoted saying, "We have consistently said that leaks and mishandling of classified information are matters that we take seriously."

But of course those leaks rarely have anything to do with national security. As Glenn noted yesterday,
Other than when a covert agent's identity is blown (as happened to Valerie Plame), has anyone ever heard of any actual, concrete national security harm from any of the high-profile leak cases, whether it be the illegal NSA eavesdropping program, the network of CIA black sites, the release of the Apache helicopter attack video, or the corruption and privacy infringements revealed by Drake?

Glenn also took note of a quote in a BBC News account, on the subject of diplomatic cables, from former U.K. intelligence analyst Crispin Black: "Diplomatic cables don't usually contain huge secrets but they do contain the unvarnished truth so in a sense they can be even more embarrassing than secrets."
Most of what the U.S. Government does of any significance -- literally -- occurs behind a vast wall of secrecy, completely unknown to the citizenry. While a small portion of that is legitimately classified, these whistle blower prosecutions and other disclosure controversies demonstrate that the vast majority of this secrecy is devoted to avoiding embarrassment and accountability. It has nothing to do with "national security" -- one of the all-justifying terms (along with Terrorism) for what the Government does. . . .

[T]here is a perfect inverse relationship between the secrecy powers of the Government (which rapidly increase) and the privacy rights of citizens (which erode just as rapidly). The citizenry meekly acquiesces to the notion that it must sacrifice more and more privacy to the Government in order to deter and expose criminality, corruption and other dangerous acts of private citizens, yet refuses to apply that same rationale to demand greater transparency from the Government itself. The Government (and its private corporate partners) know more and more about citizens, while citizens know less and less about the actions of the government-corporate axis which governs them.

Master Rahm Emanuel -- oops, excuse me, some senior administration official continues to blame us wild-eyed radical lefties for undermining the Obama administration. Of course the Master never considers that a lot of us too often have difficulty distinguishing between the present administration and its predecessor.

Labels: ,


At 7:02 AM, Anonymous savetomdrake said...

Truth over punishment - the Thomas Drake way.

For more information about NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake, visit the Save Tom Drake facebook page:

Follow @savetomdrake on twitter:

And if you agree with our cause, please sign the petition to stop the retaliatory prosecution of Thomas Drake.


Post a Comment

<< Home