NSA chief says government must declare war on the media

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Oct 27 13:27:19 GMT 2013

As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media

See also Michael Hastings'  shocking 'Pentagon 
declared war on the press' report
US Investigative Journalist Michael Hastings 
assassinated? Did Mercedes have a role in his death?

With General Alexander calling for NSA reporting 
to be halted, US and UK credibility as guardians of press freedom is crushed
Follow Glenn Greenwald On Security And Liberty by email
Friday 25 October 2013 20.22 BST
to comments (1441)
The most under-discussed aspect of the 
story has long been its international scope. That 
all changed this week as both 
and France 
with anger over new revelations about pervasive 
on their population and democratically elected leaders.

As was true for 
previously, reports about surveillance aimed at 
leaders are receiving most of the media 
attention, but what really originally drove the 
story there were revelations that the NSA is 
on millions and millions of 
citizens in 
of those nations. The favorite cry of US 
government apologists -–everyone spies! – falls 
impotent in the face of this sort of ubiquitous, 
suspicionless spying that is the sole province of 
the US and its four English-speaking surveillance 
allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

There are three points worth making about these latest developments.

• First, note how leaders such as Chancellor 
Merkel reacted with basic indifference when it 
was revealed months ago that the NSA was 
bulk-spying on all German citizens, but suddenly 
found her indignation only when it turned out 
that she personally was also targeted. That 
reaction gives potent insight into the true mindset of many western leaders.

• Second, all of these governments keep saying 
how newsworthy these revelations are, how 
profound are the violations they expose, how 
happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted 
they are to reform. If that's true, why are they 
allowing the person who enabled all these 
Snowden – to be targeted for persecution by the 
US government for the "crime" of blowing the whistle on all of this?

If the German and French governments – and the 
German and French people – are so pleased to 
learn of how their 
is being systematically assaulted by a foreign 
power over which they exert no influence, 
shouldn't they be offering asylum to the person 
who exposed it all, rather than ignoring or 
rejecting his pleas to have his basic political 
rights protected, and thus leaving him vulnerable 
to being imprisoned for decades by the US government?

Aside from the treaty obligations these nations 
have to protect the basic political rights of 
human beings from persecution, how can they 
simultaneously express outrage over these exposed 
invasions while turning their back on the person 
who risked his liberty and even life to bring them to light?

• Third, is there any doubt at all that the US 
government repeatedly tried to mislead the world 
when insisting that this system of suspicionless 
surveillance was motivated by an attempt to 
protect Americans from The Terrorists™? Our 
reporting has revealed spying on 
designed to negotiate economic agreements, the 
Organization of American States, 
companies, ministries that 
mines and energy resources, the democratically 
elected leaders of allied states, and entire populations in those states.

Can even President Obama and his most devoted 
loyalists continue to maintain, with a straight 
face, that this is all about Terrorism? That is 
superb new Foreign Affairs essay by Henry Farrell 
and Martha Finnemore means when it argues that 
the Manning and Snowden leaks are putting an end 
to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a key weapon in its soft power.

Speaking of an inability to maintain claims with 
a straight face, how are American and British 
officials, in light of their conduct in all of 
this, going to maintain the pretense that they 
are defenders of press freedoms and are in a 
position to lecture and condemn others for 
violations? In what might be the most explicit 
hostility to such freedoms yet – as well as the 
most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic – the 
NSA's director, General Keith Alexander, 
demanded Thursday that the reporting being done 
by newspapers around the world on this secret 
surveillance system be halted (Techdirt 
the full video here):

The head of the embattled National Security 
Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing 
journalists of "selling" his agency's documents 
and is calling for an end to the steady stream of 
public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

"I think it's wrong that that newspaper reporters 
have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever 
they have and are selling them and giving them 
out as if these – you know it just doesn't make 
sense," Alexander said in an interview with the 
Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.

"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I 
don't know how to do that. That's more of the 
courts and the policy-makers but, from my 
perspective, it's wrong to allow this to go on," 
the NSA director declared. [My italics]

There are 25,000 employees of the NSA (and many 
tens of thousands more who work for private 
contracts assigned to the agency). Maybe one of 
them can tell The General about 
thing called "the first amendment".

I'd love to know what ways, specifically, General 
Alexander has in mind for empowering the US 
government to "come up with a way of stopping" 
the journalism on this story. Whatever ways those 
might be, they are deeply hostile to the US 
constitution – obviously. What kind of person 
wants the government to forcibly shut down reporting by the press?

Whatever kind of person that is, he is not 
someone to be trusted in instituting and 
developing a massive bulk-spying system that 
operates in the dark. For that matter, nobody is.


As many of you likely know, it was announced last 
week that I am leaving the Guardian. My last day 
here will be 31 October, and I will write my last column on that date.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20131027/ae57ecf9/attachment.html>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list