- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. 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.
Shane Harris is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy, covering intelligence and cyber security. He is the author of The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, which chronicles the creation of a vast national security apparatus and the rise of surveillance in America. The Watchers won the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Economist named it one of the best books of 2010. Shane is the winner of the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. He has four times been named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, which honor the best journalists in America under the age of 35. Prior to joining Foreign Policy, he was the senior writer for The Washingtonian and a staff correspondent at National Journal.| Report |