Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 17, 2013)

Beyond Naïve

By Bob Cooper


“An American has no sense of privacy.  He does not know what it means.  There is no such thing in the country.”  George Bernard Shaw

Since Shaw died in 1950 he couldn’t possibly have fathomed the future meaning of his words in the Digital age.

As I watched the press hype their stories about ‘bombshell’ revelations of ‘top secret’ information by ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden I kept waiting for evidence that anything he’d revealed had seriously damaged the United States and frankly, I still haven’t seen it.  From what I can tell, the ‘spying’ Snowden revealed was little more than a cyber version of the old ‘mail cover’ we used to do at the Post Office and it was explained very well by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post  Pushing the envelope, NSA-style

Even the outrage of the Left is feigned because only the most naïve person on earth would be surprised to learn that the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand spy on their enemies which presently consist mainly of radical Muslims.  There.  I said it. 

Frankly, the most naïve person on earth at the moment seems to be Edward Snowden.   He grew up in comfortable surroundings ironically near Ft. Meade, Maryland, the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA).  After dropping out of high school in 2003 he joined the U.S. Army and volunteered for Special Forces School saying that he “wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression” but was horrified to discover that “most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone”.  Sorry Edward, but just how did you think that soldiers free people from oppression?  (Hint:  it usually involves sending the oppressors little Diplomatic memos that weigh 60 grains apiece)

Fortunately a training accident took care of Edward’s dilemma and he was given a medical discharge.  He decided to continue his efforts to help free the oppressed by working as a security guard at an NSA Facility at the University of Maryland rather like the accountant in the Monty Python sketch who wants to switch to lion-taming but is talked into a career in banking instead.

He somehow went from guarding computers to working on them for several years and though his conscience bothered him, he told the Guardian that ‘the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary’, putting him beyond naïve and well into the realm of the desperately stupid.  Don’t feel bad Edward, you’re not the only one they fooled.

I’m no fan of the Obama administration and the current IRS scandal (which, unlike this, is really serious) shows the extent that they’re willing to abuse power but the free world needs this intelligence capability with the proper oversight in order to prevent the next 9-11.  They should be giving tours of the NSA just to show the working public that their tax money is used for things other than trafficking guns to Mexican drug cartels or arming rebel savages in Syria so they can install an Islamic government more oppressive than the Assad regime ever thought of being.  (Once Assad is deposed, 3 guesses who the rebels turn those new guns on?  Does Benghazi ring a bell?)

The big question everyone wants answered is how was this guy cleared to have the type of access he did and how was he able to physically remove documents from his duty station?  Sounds to me like there’s some pretty big holes that need patching.  Most of these types can be smoked out with a proper background investigation, pre-employment interview, and a polygraph test and those with higher level access should be vetted and polygraphed on a regular basis to detect any signs of disloyalty.

As for Snowden himself, he’s had his 15 minutes.  Don’t give him any more by bringing him back for a huge trial that will cost millions, give him a soapbox, and make him a martyr for those who would do us harm.  Just walk away.  It sounds like his funds are limited which means he won’t last long in a city like Hong Kong.  Somehow the thought of him walking the streets of Pyongyang or Moscow, forgotten and stateless, or living in a cave in Afghanistan is more appealing than Leavenworth.



Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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