Conor Friedersdorf, over at the Atlantic, has a good suggestion for employees of the NSA who agree with Ed Snowden that their organization has gone too far and should be reined in... but who don't want to go as far as he did in releasing classified documents, and having to leave the US forever (and facing the potential of life in prison). Because even though it appears that lots of people
could access the documents Snowden has leaked, very few are willing to assume the "costs" associated with being a whistleblower like that. Instead, Friedersdorf points out, there are ways to make a very strong statement, without risking a life on the run, in jail or worse
. Quit and speak out.
It doesn't require leaking classified information. Nor does it violate the law. To pull off the quarter-Snowden with a twist, which requires even less than a quarter of Snowden's courage, an NSA employee need only resign their position, seek out a trustworthy journalist of their choice, and announce that while they aren't at liberty to reveal any state secrets, they believe that Congress ought to rein in the NSA immediately. "If Senators Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden, who are permitted to see classified information, are listening," the staffer could say, "I'd like to brief them on my concerns." At least one of those Senate Intelligence Committee members will take the plea seriously.
Yes, this would involve serious personal sacrifice. Giving up a lucrative job (and one with access to many of the world's secrets) probably isn't easy. But it's not nearly the sacrifice that Snowden made, and yet it would still have quite an impact. Oh, and if you're a sys admin like Snowden, there's a damn good chance you're losing your job anyway
, so rather than wait for the pink slip, why not make a statement that doesn't involve breaking any laws, but could make a real difference?