Monday, July 29, 2013

Observations from the Coffee Shop 7.29

I thought I would try and clarify my 'prisoner post' from a few days ago because I'm taking a bit of grief over it. The problem comes from my always writing in the same way I think so I just assume a reader understands what I'm trying to say because I understand it perfectly. In all likelihood that last sentence was a perfect example.

In the post I wasn't trying to say that what Manning and Snowden did was totally wrong. In a purely technical sense what they did, stealing classified documents, was illegal but I think justified at some level. In Snowden's case I did say the conversation he started needed to be started but that I think his methods have overshadowed that very conversation. Running to Russia as it persecutes gays and Putin cracks down on his political opposition just created a farce. Snowden could have released the same documents anonymously and had the same results as the documents would have been just as legitimate. The main difference I can see is that Snowden wouldn't have gotten all the attention and that is my issue with Snowden. I wish we could have the NSA and privacy debate without having to debate Snowden's motives at the same time.

Basically my problem with both stories is they seem tainted by ulterior motives and also by personalities I'm not at all thrilled with, Julian Assange, who I see as egotistical, and Glenn Greenwald. At times Greenwald seems overly concerned with drawing the story out as long as possible as he constantly refers to more forthcoming documents and articles he is working on.

As I said in the earlier post it was the comparison to Watergate that set me off. The NSA story isn't as Earth shattering, will bring down no governments, and it shouldn't have surprised anyone. It doesn't even compare to Watergate in a strictly journalistic sense. During Watergate the story drove the release of documents and the infamous tapes while in these cases the release of documents seems to drive the stories.

In all likelihood I just made it all worse. I shall await further grief.