Thursday, August 29, 2013

For Though We Walk in the Flesh

We do not war according to the flesh. -- 2 Corinthians 10:3

So we find that Mr. Snowden's Magic Bag 'o Security Secrets -- which he has maintained since the beginning to have stolen and leaked to various members of the press for the expressed purpose of triggering a public policy debate on domestic NSA surveillance and structural problems with the FISA court -- 

 -- once again being mined for yet another headline-grabbing story that has nothing whatsoever to do with either of those goals:
To hunt Osama bin Laden, satellites watched over Abbottabad, Pakistan, and Navy SEALs

By Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman, Thursday, August 29, 1:53 PM 
The U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden was guided from space by a fleet of satellites, which aimed dozens of separate receivers over Pakistan to collect a torrent of electronic and signals intelligence as the mission unfolded, according to a top-secret U.S. intelligence document.

The National Security Agency was also able to penetrate guarded communications among al-Qaeda operatives by tracking calls from mobile phones identified by specific calling patterns, the document shows. Analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency pinpointed the geographic location of one of the phones and tied it to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where an accumulation of other evidence suggested bin Laden was hiding.

The new disclosures about the hunt for bin Laden are contained in classified documents that detail this year’s “black budget” for U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA and CIA. The documents, provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, make only brief references to the bin Laden operation. But the mission is portrayed as a singular example of counter-terrorism cooperation among the U.S. government’s numerous intelligence agencies. 
Sure, explaining this away as the Snowden Trove being mined for secrets about sources and methods that have nothing whatsoever to do with domestic NSA surveillance and structural problems with the FISA court is one theory...

But maybe, just maybe, this whole thing is one 'a them double-reverso, double-naught, false flag spy thingies where the United States government secretly leaked all of this information themselves just to tarnish Mr. Snowden's credibility and get his Russian эHarmony profile ruinously tagged as "radically inappropriate sharer" for decades to come.

In fact, did I say "maybe"? Screw that! Given my extensive knowledge of Jason Bourne movies, I would upgrade that to at least a 99.44% certainty that the US government contrived to slip this information to the Washington Post, and then -- using some sinister form of mind control about which I haven't a sliver of evidence but about which I will now speculate as if it were long-established fact -- induced the Post and all the reporters in involved in this story to lie about it. they did...with The Independent!


How deep does the conspiracy go?!

Hell, someone at the NSA probably even wrote this Tweet just to make it look like Mr. Snowden was damn-fool enough to hand his trove of secrets off to people who may not necessarily be as highly and nobly focused on triggering a public policy debate on domestic NSA surveillance and structural problems with the FISA court as he is:

Because it's just the sort of thing they'd do!


Jack said...

Wow. The details of that story are amazing. I sure hope we can capture this enemy of the state (Snowden) and put him on trial for his betrayal of our country.

Pakistan is an extremely unstable nation with a nuclear arsenal. How do we suppose Snowden's latest disclosures will play there? Pakistan teeters on the brink of takeover by radical Islamists who would be happy to deploy nukes against our country, Israel, and other Western nations. (The libertarians would say "but we deserve it!") To what degree has Snowden now helped to destabilize the Pakistani government, contributing to a possible worst-case scenario of nuclear-armed religious lunatics? Are we now one step closer to millions dying because Snowden wanted to become a star on the far right? Snowden is exhibit A showing how dangerous ideologues can be. This is "crash the system" on steroids: He feels so morally righteous he's willing to do however much damage he can, consequences be damned.

For those who wonder why we're in Iraq or the middle east, the answer is almost certainly oil. For those who wonder why we've been in Afghanistan so long, and flying drones over Pakistan, the answer is almost certainly to prevent Pakistan's nuclear arsenal from falling into the hands of religious extremists who would be happy to use them against us. If you are the president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, you are keenly aware that one of the greatest risks to our national survival is Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. We have to expect the Commander in Chief will do whatever he must to prevent those nukes from being used against us. What Snowden is doing now is directly undermining that effort -- and helping the most dangerous enemies we face.

This comment from the Washington Post puts it perfectly. Reader TomF1:

We're now into sources and methods here, at least around the edges, and I'd respectfully ask the Post to stop helping Mr. Snowden to harm our country any further. I also think it's time that formal treason charges be preferred against him and that he be tried in absentia if necessary. His own prideful statements alone should be enough to convict him. He should never be allowed to breathe the air of a Western country again.

I don't care if he was just a show-off, an anarchist, an agent-provocateur or just a complete loose cannon; the damage he personally has done to our national security will never be fully calculated. Future blood will be shed because of him, and it'll all be on his hands. Hope the pieces of silver were worth it.

Anonymous said...

It's no secret that Snowden gave information to Barton Gellman. Nor did he ever say that his goals were exclusively limited to "triggering a public policy debate on domestic NSA surveillance and structural problems with the FISA court," a phrase you keep bolding like it was some promise he made.

But keep that hyperbole going. Dollar bill, dollar bill, right?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Nor did he ever say that his goals were exclusively limited to "triggering a public policy debate on domestic NSA surveillance and structural problems with the FISA court," a phrase you keep bolding like it was some promise he made.

Whoah. If the goalposts at Soldier Field moved like that, nobody would EVER beat the Bears.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I do have to admit, however, that as elegant as your titles and p-shoops are (and I am especially startled by the Brooks/Sellers mashup), that Tengrain hit one out of the park with "Smilla's Sense Of Snowden"

Anonymous said...

What did Edward Snowden actually say about his goals?

"I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

So who moved the goalposts?

Anonymous said...

I've listened to the very few words that Snowden has uttered in regard to his motives and I think a fair paraphrase goes something like this:

"I was privy to a constant stream of government abuses because of the nature of my employment. During the course of doing my job I became increasingly aware of the magnitude of the wrongdoing of my government. This awareness continued to build until it reached a tipping point. I realized talking to those inside my organization would not result in any change. So I decided to leak the abuses I learned about to the press.

I believe that what the national security state is able to do should be determined by the people themselves and not by faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats working in an ultra secretive government agency.

I've learned that the goal of the NSA is to collect all communications of everyone anywhere and everywhere in the world so that they can be stored and analysed. The ability to achieve this Herculean task becomes closer to reality every single year.

This never ending collection of all data from everyone is taking place outside of any democratic model. However, In a democratic society the activities of the national security state must be agreed to by the population through a democratic process for the activities to have legitimacy. Obviously, nothing remotely like this has taken place with regard the NSA's current activities."

I've got to say that I agree with Snowden's assessment. And I really don't care if he likes green eggs and ham or not.

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible hack Drifty. I'm glad that any remuneration for said hackery is seemingly absent for your "analysis." Oh yeah, frack Bob Cesca who is more successful in his hackery because he is slightly more stupid and ignorant in his writings. History will not be kind to your kind.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that any remuneration for said hackery is seemingly absent for your "analysis."

What a shame if nobody at all is Paying The Effing Writer. That National Security Dollar is apparently a Very Good Dollar indeed. Do they make PayPal donations?