June 27, 2013
Is the NSA a leaking sieve?
Well, Ed Snowden proved it, didn’t he?
He strolled into work with a thumb drive, plugged in, and stole the holy of holies.
This is the vaunted NSA we’re talking about. They can reach out and spy on anybody in the world, but they just didn’t remember to put safeguards in place, in their own offices.
They forgot. For years.
You know, just an oops.
And people nod and shrug when they hear about it.
The NSA says, “Now that we’re aware of the problem, we’re going to install new procedures to tighten security.”
And then there is this. The NSA can spy on anyone in the world, but they can’t find Ed Snowden now.
So… to sum up: we’re supposed to believe NSA can’t protect their own files, and they can’t find the most wanted man in the world.
People actually accept this nonsense.
So the question arises: if the NSA really does know where Snowden is right now, why hasn’t the Pentagon dispatched a team to snatch him and bring him home? Or why hasn’t the team killed him?
Two reasons. If Snowden really does have more damning information, and if, as Glenn Greenwald says, Snowden’s already sent it to multiple people in case anything happens to him, then capturing or killing him would trigger the release of that information.
And two, the groundswell of support for Snowden is growing at a rapid pace. Can you imagine what could happen if the government grabbed Snowden and brought him home to go on trial for treason?
The uproar would explode. The NSA would find itself under far greater attack. Politicians like Pelosi and Feinstein, who’ve come out against Snowden, could easily be swept away on the tide.
The current image of Snowden is sincere, honest, frank, and self-sacrificing. He doesn’t want to go after individual spies. He wants to change the system.
As we speak, government-contracted PR people and psyop specialists are burning the midnight oil, doing a risk-benefit analysis, trying to figure out how they could handle bringing Snowden home and placing him on trial. How they could change his image.
Is it worth it? What happens if they let Snowden roam free for a few more months? If they bring him home, can they spin media coverage to make him look bad? Worse than bad? Will that backfire? Do they have enough media ducks lined up?
Will Brian Williams, Scott Pelley, and Dianne Sawyer tune up just right on this issue? Will they be able to hypnotize enough of the public into believing Snowden is a traitor?
What about the “online community,” which is firmly on Snowden’s side after the revelations about nine tech giants cooperating fully with the NSA? How about 100,000 sites and bloggers going wild about the injustice of snatching Snowden and putting him on trial?
If, as I’ve argued in previous articles (see Spygate on this blog), Snowden is actually still working for his old employer, the CIA, and forwarding a turf war between the CIA and NSA, we’d have to say CIA has done a good job in positioning Snowden. The CIA might be crazy, but they aren’t (always) stupid.
Right out of the box, Snowden made a complete statement to the press about his intentions and motives. He just wants to expose the illegal spying on all US citizens so the public can decide what should be done, because after all, this is still a democracy.
Snowden says he doesn’t want praise. He’s not a hero. He just wants transparency. And the NSA is breaking the law over and over.
Snowden looks the part. Young, bright. A self-effacing yet steadfast nerd. Perfect. Nothing nasty about him. He doesn’t have that Julian Assange edge. He’s just a boy. Look at him. He obviously means well.
Honorable hero? CIA operative? Either way, the US government is in a pickle. It’s not going to be a slam-dunk with this guy.
In a related issue, it’s astonishing (to anyone who is awake) that the Congress hasn’t come down on NSA like a ton of bricks.
We should be hearing a grilling like this, directed at NSA head, Keith Alexander:
“Let me get this straight, General Alexander. Snowden captured and stole your most secret data. Anyone of his rank at NSA could have done the same, because you have no security protection against it. And now, with the most sophisticated spying system in the world, you can’t find Snowden. This makes the NSA the most bumbling stumbling trillion-dollar organization in the history of mankind. Can you give me a good reason why we shouldn’t move to de-fund NSA completely and start over from scratch? This is outrageous.”
And that would just be the beginning of the assault.
Yet, that’s not what we’re getting. Instead, so far, we’re hearing a few modest criticisms.
The most obvious answer is, Congress is afraid of the NSA. This bunch of legislators, these crooks and con men and perverts and felonious scum are scared that they’ve been under the NSA spying lens for a long time.
And what could come crawling out of NSA files is terrifying to them.
So they hold still. They take a deep breath. They pray for safety. They go on the attack against Snowden. They fall all over themselves calling Snowden a vile traitor who must be brought to justice.
Which tells you something about who’s running things in Washington.
It also tells you something about the level of resentment that’s built up over the years against the NSA. Not just in the Congress. In certain quarters of the CIA and the elite media, because NSA has been spying on reporters and editors and taking huge chunks of federal budget $$ away from the CIA.
Lots of important people have been hoping for a way to take down NSA a peg or two.
So this is the kind of Congressional-NSA conversation that’s going on right now, behind closed doors in Washington:
“Here’s the thing, General Alexander. We spoken about this before. Your NSA has been invading our lives with your snooping for far too long. Now we have a trump card. Ed Snowden. We’re playing it. I’m not admitting he’s our creature, I’m just saying he’s doing the kind of work we ourselves should have done years ago. So we want some give and take here.”
“What kind of give and take?”
“Get off our backs. We’ll go easy on you. We won’t turn all our guns on you. We’ll call Snowden a traitor. We’ll focus all the public attention on him. But give us our privacy back. Now.”
“Well, I suppose we might do that.”
“But we have to know you’re setting us free to do whatever the hell we want to do, without fear of being seen doing it. We need guarantees.”
“How might that work?”
“We need people we appoint to have oversight on NSA. Real oversight.”
The beginnings of an uneasy truce. A problematic truce, to be sure.
Oh, people might say, this sort of dealing never takes place.
Really? And you’re living in what world? The rainbow happy-happy goody-good sandbox planet just to the left of Oz?
The only question is, do the political enemies of NSA have enough juice yet, from the Snowden affair, to engage in this kind of conversation and come out with a win?
But that’s about tactics. The intention is clear. There are political players who want to take the NSA down a notch. Some of them may be honorable patriots; but some of them are definitely rank criminals in politicians’ clothing, who want to feel free from the Big Watching Eye.
Ed Snowden is their man of the hour. They will use him and what he symbolizes to make hay while the sun shines.
Why is all this important? And why does it matter who Snowden really represents?
It’s important because, the way this political game works, the NSA will escape the current scandal with its major spying programs intact, there will be dirty deals and compromises, and the NSA will still hold tremendous power.
No one in Washington imagines that NSA’s spying on private American citizens will significantly decline.
If people really understood that, if they understood that no savior is coming to unhook NSA’s computers, they might begin to view the Snowden affair differently. They might be willing to consider the real games that are being played.
They might admit that what we need is a nullification of Washington power that goes far beyond anything that Ed Snowden can provide.
Our real problem is the limited mind, or perhaps we should call it the literal mind.
The literal mind can’t conceive of the levels of deception and bent deal-making below the surface of events presented on the evening news.
The literal mind can’t, for example entertain the possibility that Snowden’s revealed some important (though hardly surprising) information, while at the same time, he has less than the purest of motives.
The literal mind is a programmed mind.
You present it with the image of the most competent and brilliant spying agency in the world, the NSA, and the “fact” that this agency can’t find its own ex-employee, Ed Snowden, and there is no perceived problem. No inconsistency.
The literal mind accepts all contradictions like hundred-dollar bills.
You could, for example, spend a year educating that mind about the US corporations that aided the Nazis in World War 2. You could spell out all the details. IBM, ITT, Standard Oil, etc.
And then, you could ask, “Do you think there is any chance the War was manipulated?”
And that mind would say, “Of course not. It was us versus them.”
You could say, “The science on manmade global warming is settled,” and the literal mind would never think of replying, “Explain what you mean by ‘settled.’ Who settled it? Exactly how?”
You could say, “Every year in the US, pharmaceutical drugs kill a minimum of 106,000 people. Nutritional supplements kill no one. But the FDA, which permits those drugs to enter the marketplace, relentlessly attacks supplements. It does nothing to stem the tide of deaths owing to the medical drugs.”
The literal mind would reply, “Yes? And? So?”
Some preposterous doofus on the news says, “Ed Snowden is walking around with three laptops that contain the deepest secrets of the NSA. Chinese or Russian hackers could have already gained access to all that information.”
The literal mind would never wonder why, then, the NSA can’t accomplish the same feat and discover what Snowden has pilfered.
The literal mind, under guidance from elite media anchors, will connect the dots directly in front of it, but it will avoid, at all costs, imagination. It will never posit alternative realities or explanations which then make those dots take on different meaning, fuller and deeper and truer meaning.
The literal mind is full of fear and protection. It wants to protect itself and it is afraid that something novel might swim into view and shatter it to pieces.
The literal mind is a clog in the bloodstream of life. It’s a believer in the extreme fairy tale of ordinary reality.
The literal mind imports, wholesale, images of ordinary reality and clings to them like a leech.
The literal mind, when it accidentally rubs up against creative life, retreats into a corner and mutters and curses.
The literal mind lives a second-hand existence through the news, which is the only food it can eat.
When the literal mind reaches the end of its tether, it seeks out codified religious blather invented by a priest class for the purpose of cutting people off from their own authentic spiritual energies and insights and connections.
The literal mind is a coward. It only asks for other cowards with which it can commune.
The day is too long, the night is too long, the fear is too great. The literal mind must therefore play out the string of a shrunken number of days and wither away, hoping it can deceive the void it feels at the center of its own experience.
The literal mind crawls around on a bed in the Universal Hospital. It dreams of extinction, while knowing it is already extinct.
Do not hold out a helping hand to the literal mind. It will try to snap your finger off. That gesture is all it has left.
In the end, the literal mind turns out to be the most fictional thing in the world.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails atwww.nomorefakenews.com