from the stupid-is-as-intelligence-does dept
There's an old joke about "military intelligence" being an oxymoron, and lately the intelligence community seems intent on resurrecting it as a fresh and poignant observation, while Congress and the administration struggle to get in on the action and make sure everyone knows it goes all the way to the top. This week we've got a big crop of comments that will attest to this, starting with Uriel-238's most insightful comment of the week, offering the simple and obvious response to a national intelligence lawyer wondering why people want to share data with Facebook but not the government:
How about (for starters)
BECAUSE WE FUCKING DON'T FUCKING TRUST THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT!
(...and also what all you guys said.)
While the lawyer was "wondering" with extreme prejudice, ex-CIA/NSA boss Michael Hayden was making a proclamation: that Ed Snowden is the worst traitor in history, eclipsing Benedict Arnold and the Rosenbergs. DSchneider won second most insightful comment (and actually scored even more funny votes, but not enough to crack the top two, because the funny side was much more competitive this week) by pointing out one of the (many, many) ridiculous things Hayden said:
Hayden goes on to blame Snowden for: "the undeniable economic punishment that will be inflicted on American businesses for simply complying with American law."
That sounds an awful lot like blaming your doctor because he told you you got syphilis from sleeping with a prostitute.
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll start with one more response to Hayden that also got lots of votes in both categories. As we pointed out, Hayden's argument largely amounts to the idea that because Snowden's leaks were digital, they are more substantial and more potentially damaging. This doesn't seem particularly relevant to the question of whether he should be branded a traitor, where the intent and nature of his actions are what matters most, but as mudlock noted, the concept is highly relevant to the surveillance issues that Snowden revealed:
"The argument, basically, is that because it's digital, Snowden has a lot more info."
Funny, that's the same problem we have with the NSA.
Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee found a way to join the Snowden pile-on by approving the threat of trade sanctions against any country that offers him asylum. Nastybutler77 provided the one simple fact that is the ultimate response to the Senators, Hayden and everyone else:
History will not look kindly on those who seek to persecute Snowden.
On the funny side, first place goes to Jay for further summing up Hayden's silly comments about Snowden:
Snowden is clearly so much worse than all of them because he did his crimes… ON THE INTERNET. Thus making it a totally original and innovative crime that had never been done before. It's obvious.
For second place, the Obama administration gets in on the party: we noted that their promise to protect whistleblowers had disappeared completely from the Change.gov website, but PW suggested that maybe they're just playing spy games:
It didn't disappear, it's just *transparent*. You just need the Confidential Secret Decoder Pen light source to see what it says ;)
Since we've got such a strong theme going on, I see no reason to break it with the final two editor's choices. First, we'll head to yet another example of Snowden stupidity, with the feds proving unable to stay consistent on the question of whether or not Snowden got key NSA secrets, leading bergman to propose a name for the phenomenon:
As most of you know, that's a reference to a famous thought experiment — and this week, we proposed our own thought experiment: if (as the feds claim) collecting data is not a search until you look at the data, then is downloading copyrighted material not piracy until you open it? Mike ended that post by reminding the pro-copyright crowd that it's meant to make a point about surveillance, not about copyright, and encouraging them not to "bother spewing something stupid." An anonymous commenter gave us a well-deserved admonishment for attempting to create artificial scarcity:
There is an infinite supply of stupid, the cost of duplication and distribution of stupid is effectively zero. I thought you guys understood the economics of the digital age, stupidity is ubiquitous and needless to say, the USA is at the forefront of the stupid economy.
Do you have any ideas how many jobs in the states are supported by the stupid.
Damnit, he's right. Maybe we should try a 30-second warning about stupid at the beginning of every post, with a big scary badge logo...