30 October 2013

Whistle-blower creeps

William Saletan asks a few excellent questions in his Slate article.

Snowden, Greenwald, and Poitras haven’t divulged any surveillance explicitly confined to military targets or terrorists. But they’ve reported NSA operations against the president of Brazil, the president of Mexico, the president of Russia, French diplomats, Indian diplomats, and dozens of unnamed “world leaders.” Their articles are often published in the targeted countries and timed to cause maximum disruption to U.S. relations with those countries.

If you’re German, Mexican, or Brazilian, you can thank these journalists for exposing surveillance of your country. But if you’re American, the equation has changed. The NSA leaks are no longer about your privacy. They’re about alerting the world to U.S. espionage against other governments, most of whom are simultaneously spying on us. Snowden’s collaborators are publishing these secrets because, like the NSA, they’re in the thrall of unprecedented access to information. But just because they can use it all doesn’t mean they should.
Yep: where exactly is the point when a freedom-hungry journalist and truth-seeking whistle-blower cross from righteous indignation into pure unadulterated anti-Americanism?

Go figure.