Some NSA Officials Favor Giving Snowden Limited Amnesty For All The Wrong Reasons
from the but-it-won't-happen dept
CBS News has a report, which apparently will air as part of this weekend’s 60 Minutes, in which it’s suggested that some top NSA officials favor granting amnesty to Ed Snowden. There actually are a number of good reasons why the US absolutely should give him amnesty. During an interview with 60 Minutes’ John Miller, the NSA’s Rick Ledgett, who is in charge of the task force trying to prevent another Snowden-like leak, admitted that he thought it made sense to grant Snowden amnesty:
JOHN MILLER: He’s already said, “If I got amnesty, I would come back.” Given the potential damage to national security, what would your thought on making a deal be?
RICK LEDGETT: So, my personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about. I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.
Of course, note the “assurances” necessary. He’d basically have to agree that the “remainder of the data could be secured” and that’s clearly not even remotely possible, since those documents have been spread out to a number of third parties already. The reason for granting amnesty is as a recognition that Snowden was, in fact, a whistleblower, who exposed an agency that had gone way too far and then directly lied to Congress about it.
But, of course, even that limited impossible amnesty is too much for NSA boss General Keith Alexander, who apparently thinks in bogus analogies rather than basic cost-benefit analysis.
GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER: This is analogous to a hostage-taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then say, “If you give me full amnesty, I’ll let the other 40 go.” What do you do?
Except that’s not analogous at all. It’s actually analogous to someone calling out bad behavior and then saying “if you don’t prosecute me for bogus reasons, I can help you fix and stop your bad behavior.” That seems like a good thing.
MILLER: It’s a dilemma.
GEN. ALEXANDER: It is.
MILLER: Do you have a pick?
GEN. ALEXANDER: I do. I think people have to be held accountable for their actions. … Because what we don’t want is the next person to do the same thing, race off to Hong Kong and to Moscow with another set of data, knowing they can strike the same deal.
Actions like… violations of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution? Lying to the American public? Mass surveillance on Americans and foreigners? Actions like purposely putting security holes in technology standards making us all less safe? Actions like “accidentally” spying on people the NSA is not allowed to spy on?
Why then, yes, I actually agree with General Alexander that people have to be held accountable for their actions. I guess he doesn’t think that statement applies to himself.