Glenn Greenwald reviews the situation and what is to come

He says that he has been busy on a new set of stories that will be released soon. I for one am eagerly looking forward to it and I suspect that the elites who run our government and other major institutions are quaking in their shows wondering what other of their activities are going to be revealed.

Greenwald expresses astonishment (that I share) at how people could defend the secrecy that has been exposed.

How can anyone think that it’s remotely healthy in a democracy to have the NSA building a massive spying apparatus about which even members of Congress, including Senators on the Homeland Security Committee, are totally ignorant and find “astounding” when they learn of them? How can anyone claim with a straight face that there is robust oversight when even members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are so constrained in their ability to act that they are reduced to issuing vague, impotent warnings to the public about what they call radical “secret law” enabling domestic spying that would “stun” Americans to learn about it, but are barred to disclose what it is they’re so alarmed by? Put another way, how can anyone contest the value and justifiability of the stories that we were able to publish as a result of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing: stories that informed the American public – including even the US Congress – about these incredibly consequential programs? What kind of person would think that it would be preferable to remain in the dark – totally ignorant – about them?

I can answer the last question: People who are either so scared of vague threats that they seek to shelter under the warm blanket of illusions of being protected by a paternalistic government or people who are so locked into supporting president Obama that they refuse to concede that he is just another power-hungry politician abusing his position.

Greenwald also talks about how the establishment deals with damaging information.

As we were about to begin publishing these NSA stories, a veteran journalist friend warned me that the tactic used by Democratic partisans would be to cling to and then endlessly harp on any alleged inaccuracy in any one of the stories we publish as a means of distracting attention away from the revelations and discrediting the entire project. That proved quite prescient, as that is exactly what they are attempting to do.

I know that many Democrats want to cling to the belief that, in Perlstein’s words, “the powers that be will find it very easy to seize on this one error to discredit [my] NSA revelation, even the ones he nailed dead to rights”. Perlstein cleverly writes that “such distraction campaigns are how power does its dirtiest work” as he promotes exactly that campaign.

But that won’t happen. The documents and revelations are too powerful. The story isn’t me, or Edward Snowden, or the eagerness of Democratic partisans to defend the NSA as a means of defending Preisdent Obama, and try as they might, Democrats won’t succeed in making the story be any of those things. The story is the worldwide surveillance apparatus the NSA is constructing in the dark and the way that has grown under Obama, and that’s where my focus is going to remain.

The ultimate puzzle for me is that people don’t seem to care that they are putting extraordinary power into the hands of any future leader, who could well be someone whom they would hate and fear even if he/she did not have these powers. That shortsightedness is what I find most astounding.


  1. Chiroptera says

    I’ve just said this on Ed Brayton’s blog:

    I think some people’s conception of democracy is straight out of the 18th century: once every couple of years, you choose which faction of the elites will govern us, trusting them based on their professed ideologies, and then until the next election you shut up and do what you’re told.

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