National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been accused of treason by a handful of lawmakers and media pundits for making public the Federal government’s habit of collecting Americans’ electronic communications data.But Snowden didn’t reveal anything that many Americans were not already aware of or, at least, were suspicious about.
The young insider simply blew the whistle in a way that disallowed what is America’s truest equivalent to Oceania’s Ministry of Truth to drown him out.While George Orwell’s 1984 mind molders worked in a sinister centralized location where they manipulated all mass-produced information to fit the government agenda, the reality of America’s information manipulation apparatus is far less centralized, if only slightly less sinister.
Further compounding his likelihood of being vilified as a seditious terror-enabler has been Snowden’s decision to head for Hong Kong in an attempt to elude government prosecution for as long as possible after he provided NSA information to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald for publication.
Over the weekend, three previous NSA whistle-blowers, who have spent years informing Americans of the spy agency’s massive collection of citizen data, sat down for a roundtable discussion at the request of USA Today.
Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe are likely three men whom Snowden spent time thinking about before making the decision to make public NSA documents. But his whistle-blowing predecessors largely failed to create a mainstream buzz with complaints of the NSA’s Constitutional abuse. The trio’s failure to garner attention was not because they were failing to present shocking information of totalitarian surveillance; rather, they failed because they — for the most part — followed rules put in place by the system to avoid being snuffed out by the bureaucratic machine.
Each action they took gave government a chance to counteract in the interest of quieting public outrage; and when the power structure tired of attempts to reveal NSA’s actions, the marked men were easily bound and gagged with red tape.
Binney explains why no one within government will ever recognize a problem and enact change by following the structured patch of revealing problems to the chain of command or other government agencies before putting the information directly in the public square.“We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after,”
Binney said. “And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn’t get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general’s office didn’t pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.”
Of the three men, Drake is probably most familiar with the dangers of trying to reveal problems with government by going through the “proper” channels.For his efforts of trying to reveal problems stemming from certain NSA data…………..