- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I know even young military officers who think Edward Snowden did the right thing. Hackers are heroes to some. So reading this comment in the April issue of Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute reminded me of how wide the gap is between Snowden’s supporters and opponents. In listing some of the problems currently facing U.S. counterintelligence, retired Read Adm. Thomas Brooks writes:
… Added to this, of course, is the bizarre motivation of the Bradley Mannings and Edward Snowdens, who are convinced they are acting in accordance with some self-perceived higher cause, betray huge volumes of secrets not to one hostile intelligence agency but to the intelligence agencies of the entire world.
Tom again: This makes me wonder, would it have been better had Snowden just secretly provided the information to the Russians? Wouldn’t that have been worse — we wouldn’t have known what had been provided, and still would have had to respond by overhauling intelligence operations, no? In fact, the only difference I can see is that such a secret transfer would have been less embarrassing to U.S. intelligence officials. And that makes me wonder how much of their anger at Snowden is driven by embarrassment rather than concern about security.