Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Security is not black and white

For all those bemoaning the failed vote to defund the NSA, consider this scenario-

you are a SEAL team commander in Afghanistan in 2005.  Inserted covertly, your mission is to hide, observe the enemy and provide intel.  But right after finding a good spot to observe and report, you are discovered by local sheep herders.  You can kill the innocent civilians, or let them go and hope they don't give the enemy your position.

Is this a black and white decision?  Can any American say without hesitation they would choose one course or the other without thinking twice about the security of yourself and your team?  Wouldn't you strive to find a middle ground?

Similarly, it is impossible to judge the NSA scandal given the facts we have.  The word of a man seeking asylum in Russia seems to be enough to convince libertarians and tin foil hat types that the NSA is evil.  It seems clear from the evidence that the NSA was monitoring phone and email traffic more than we the people knew, but even that is speculation.  If you are relying on Edward Snowden as a savior and source of information, you are not making an informed choice.

What most people fail to admit is that it is quite possible that the NSA monitoring is over the line, yet Snowden is still a traitor.  Just because the NSA is wrong (if that is correct) doesn't mean that Snowden is a saint for exposing the program.  He certainly doesn't win any points for running from the country with what he professes to be 'information damaging to the US' and putting himself in the hands of foreign agents of China and Russia, two countries which cannot be charitably described as our allies, or even as allies of freedom.

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