Wisdom of the Whistleblower
When I first exposed the existence of the signals-intelligence (SIGINT) community and the National Security Agency some 40 years ago, I mentioned that among the many tentacles of what Tim Shorrock calls the “cyberintelligence ruling class” [“The New Cybersecurity Elite,” June 15] were private SIGINT outfits created by present and former officials of the NSA and the “Five Eyes” [Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States]. Even then, I thought the commercialization of intelligence would reach a point where you would not be able to tell what was being done in the national interest and what was being done for commercial profit. Indeed, throughout history, intelligence for profit has led to false intelligence.
Please keep reporting on these issues, as we will learn the truth only through courageous whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and great reporters like Shorrock. For 40 years, the fact of these spying abuses has been known to the public. Will it take another 40 years, and another Snowden risking it all once again, before we stop the ruling class and its spies? Or will we just accept the spread of “technofascism”? It is up to the current generation of citizens to determine if we are to have freedom and peace—or control of our destinies by a technologically enhanced ruling class committed to permanent war and tech dominance over the rest of us.
Ignorance Is Remiss
Eric Alterman’s strong effort to set the media record straight (“Fool Me Twice,” June 15) on the propaganda leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is weakened a bit when he attributes to the perpetrators—Bush, Cheney, et al.—the faults of “arrogance, ignorance, [and] incompetence.” Arrogant they certainly were, while incompetent would be debatable: Bush and Cheney were reelected, served their terms, and retired comfortably at taxpayer expense; Cheney’s company, Halliburton, has profited enormously; and so on.
But “ignorance”? That’s the plea of those who voted to authorize Bush’s actions, though it’s unlikely to be true for any of them. If we, out here in flyover Ohio—who mostly had to rely on a war-fawning press, but also had information from magazines like The Nation—knew that Saddam Hussein didn’t have nukes, didn’t want war, and didn’t harbor terrorists, surely those in Congress at the time knew these things as well. C-SPAN also helped, as we could watch powerful speeches before Congress by Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Robert Byrd, and others.