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Jun 16 2013

The attacks on Snowden increase

As we all knew would happen, there has been a concerted effort to discredit Edward Snowden the person, which is the usual means adopted by the ruling class. When they cannot defend their actions, they go after the messenger. The latest charge is that he is a double-agent, likely working for the Chinese. It is a story spun out of purely circumstantial evidence.

Naomi Wolfe is one person who has proposed this idea and Tom Scocca takes apart her ridiculous argument.

This same charge has also been made by someone named Gordon Chang whose main argument seems to be that Snowden went to Hong Kong and the timing of his release on the eve of the Obama-Xi meeting. Chang also points to the fact that Snowden has revealed that the US government has been massively spying on China as evidence that he may be working for the Chinese.

The latter argument does not pass the ‘switch test’, which is when you switch things around to see what people would say if the roles were reversed. If a Chinese person with access to their government’s computer spying network revealed that they were massively spying on the US, would Americans hail that person as a courageous truth teller or as a traitor who should be condemned?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Jesselyn Radack has released a statement from the Government Accountability Project that reminds us that it is important to keep in mind that all these are diversions. Snowden and his motives are not the main story. It is what he revealed that we should be focusing on.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I”m bloody disappointed with Wolfe on this one. She’s normally much more level-headed than this.

  2. 2
    Chiroptera

    Snowden and his motives are not the main story.

    And this is the important point. Even if all the allegations were true and Snowden is the most evil person that ever existed in the entire history of humanity, the information that he has provided to the public still indicates that the US government has reached beyond the limits that are reasonable in a democratic society, and that is a more important issue than a single person.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    I see that Dick Cheney called him a “traitor” – well, that’s putting him in some mighty lofty company, Dick, are you sure he’s one of your peers?

  4. 4
    wtfwhatever

    1. Naomi Wolf has often been a dope. (Al Gore – Earth tones) (Vagina)
    2. Don’t read Gawker, and don’t get your security information from Gawker

    Slightly more reputable
    http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/07/whos-telling-the-truth-about-nsa-prism-computer-security-expert-gene-spafford-weighs-in-tctv/

    Gene Spafford (google him if you don’t know)

    ““I think there are several things here that are interesting about this. The first is, in the last three days we’ve seen three highly classified bits of information that were at the center of stories broken by the Guardian in England, all involving highly classified U.S. documents. That indicates that there is potentially some very significant leak of someone who is violating their oath, who is disclosing information that is protected by law, and is undoubtedly going to be raising the ire of law enforcement, intelligence, government agents throughout the U.S. because they don’t now what else may be leaked. This is a major problem, it is likely to provoke a significant backlash. It raises some questions about the veracity of the information.

    I find the timing interesting that all of this is being released on the days that the president is meeting with the Chinese premier and the major topic of discussion was supposed to be the us complaining about surveillance and cyber attacks by the Chinese.

    One of the things in security is that there are no coincidences. So one can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some political motive, and who’s really behind this, if in fact there is a real story.””

  5. 5
    Jeffrey Johnson

    I think it’s a good thing that Snowden has broken the secrecy and started this conversation. It’s really irrelevant who Snowden is. It shouldn’t be part of the conversation. People are talking about all the wrong things: whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor, and whether the government has the legal right or legitimate purpose to collect this data.

    I can see legitimate good uses for this data, and that such a program can be re-shaped according to law so that it isn’t skewed only to fit government convenience, but also so that it gives citizens ways to push back, to monitor, and to protect themselves from abuse. Simply blocking the gathering of data is the wrong solution to this problem. Ending the secrecy and restoring transparency and citizen review and recourse to the courts is the answer.

  6. 6
    lpetrich

    A nice thing about Edward Snowden is his lack of big scandals. Julian Assange’s sex scandal has gotten many people’s attention away from his Wikileaks work.

  7. 7
    Beth

    The more character assassination they do, the more they make Snowden’s case. Why did he, apparently an awful unqualified traitor, have access to all that sensitive information? Who else does? What will they, as individuals, do with the data?

    At any rate, they tear down his character because they cannot convincingly argue against his evidence. Chomsky predicts this will always occur.

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