Former CIA and NSA boss Michael Hayden has already been making the rounds saying stupid things
about Ed Snowden and his leaks
, but he took it to a new level late last week by comparing Ed Snowden to a variety of former Americans who gave secrets to foreign governments
... and then declaring that Snowden is worse than all of them
I know that we have had our share of spies.
Benedict Arnold was bent on betraying the garrison at West Point to the British during the Revolution. Klaus Fuchs and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg ferreted out nuclear secrets for the Russians. Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen identified American penetrations for ultimate execution by the Soviets.
We have also had our share of leakers.
Daniel Ellsberg copied thousands of pages of documents related to the Vietnam War. Bradley Manning is accused of indiscriminately scoured the Defense Department's SIPRNET (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network) for all manner of military reports and diplomatic cables.
But Snowden is in a class by himself.
Did you catch that? He's claiming that Snowden is worse than Benedict Arnold -- who directly gave info to the British while we were at war with them. And Fuchs and the Rosenbergs, who provided nuclear secrets to the Russians at the dawn of the cold war. And he says that a guy who blew the whistle
on our own government's pervasive and questionable surveillance regime on its own citizens
is somehow worse? Does he honestly think anyone can take him seriously after that?
The argument, basically, is that because it's digital, Snowden has a lot more info. And, despite Snowden's rather vocal assurances that he set things up so that the Russians and the Chinese could not get access to the data he had, Hayden is positive they already got it, noting he "would lose all respect for China's Ministry of State Security and Russia's FSB if they have not already fully harvested Snowden's digital data trove." Of course, this leaves out that part of Snowden's expertise which was in setting up systems to keep such information from falling into foreign intelligence hands. In other words, if Snowden couldn't protect such info, then it sure sounds like the overall NSA probably wouldn't have been able to stop it either -- meaning that it's highly likely China and Russia already had
this info. Besides, if anyone
thinks that the Chinese and the Russians didn't already know
that the US was tapping into pretty much all internet communications then they're pretty clueless.
Hayden is just spreading FUD to try to make a case against Snowden that just isn't there.
Hayden goes on to blame Snowden for: "the undeniable economic punishment that will be inflicted on American businesses for simply complying with American law." Got that? It's Snowden's fault
that people will be less willing to do business with American companies because the NSA has been forcing them to hand over all sorts of data. I don't know about you, but it sure seems like if you're looking for someone to pin the blame on for that economic issue, it should start and end with the NSA itself
for twisting the law and getting the companies to cough up such info.
As we've said before, if these programs really are so great and so important, then the intelligence community should have no problem
with defending the basic programs in public. Tell us why they're necessary and let the public debate it. Keeping them secret has no real benefits. Criminals know that law enforcement can tap phone lines. That's been around for ages. We don't expect law enforcement to keep those sorts of capabilities secret. The only reason to keep these programs totally secret is because folks like Hayden (who led the initial warrantless wiretapping efforts) know that they're almost certainly breaking the law.
Going even further, Hayden stomps even further on our Constitution (the one he was supposed to protect) by shifting from the 4th Amendment that he's already contributed to spitting on and turning to the 1st. Within the piece, he claims that reporter Glenn Greenwald, who helped to break Snowden's story is also guilty of breaking the law:
The Guardian newspaper's Glenn Greenwald, far more deserving of the Justice Department's characterization of a co-conspirator than Fox's James Rosen ever was....
Based on what? The answer is absolutely nothing. Hayden is childishly smearing Greenwald because he's not happy about the leaks. Of course, Greenwald had the perfect comeback
I've long thought Michael Hayden belongs in prison for implementing illegal warrantless eavesdropping at Americans
So I guess they're even?
Though, honestly, Greenwald has a really good point here. Perhaps Hayden's vitriolic lashing out at Snowden and Greenwald is a lot more about his realizing that among the documents that Snowden must have might include more than a few that implicate Hayden's activities back when he was in charge of the warrantless wiretapping programs. Might as well get a few potshots in first before those come out, I guess?