Finding the right villian in the scandal

The NSA telecommunications spy scandal has created a lot of breathlessness in certain circles  lately. Stewart Baker says “but enough about you …” to question whether the scanal is really about the privacy of individuals or something else, something much more insidious.

“Today, more than two weeks after publishing a FISA court order calling for the collection of noncontent calling data for all US phone calls, the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald got around to proving me right. They finally published NSA’s minimization procedures for handling records relating to US persons.”

… “To be clear, they’re generally reassuring about NSA’s respect for the rights of Americans. They’re not at all reassuring about the motivations of Glenn Greenwald or the Guardian.

Because it seems almost certain that Greenwald and the Guardian had these documents two weeks ago, and that they could have released the guidelines at the same time they released the order that started this flap.  The original order, out of context, was disturbing.  The minimization documents provide context and make the naked order less troubling.

So why did the Greenwald/Guardian team withhold documents that would provide important context for two full weeks as the controversy built?

This makes no sense if you’re practicing journalism.”

In other words, the real scandal is likely to be the violation of a security clearance to leak classified information to a media outlet that then used that information as a part of an ideological propaganda campaign.

“If I’m right about their motives, Greenwald and the Guardian are treating NSA — or the United States government — as the enemy they hope to harm, and they’ve abandoned ordinary journalistic standards in an effort to do their adversary as much harm as possible.”

It used to be simple government vs government. Now, it appears, it is something a bit different. No long is Radio Moscow the means to disseminate propaganda. The cranks and crackpots and others can get into the act as well. They want to ‘bring the big guy down’ but don’t seem to have the foggiest idea about the implications of their fantasies.

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