In all times kings, and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealousies, and in the state and posture of gladiators; having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms; and continual spies upon their neighbors; which is a posture of war.
—HOBBES, LeviathanAdd on Note: You might want to read this
I have been spending time lately, thinking about the "revelation" that the NSA is spying on other governments. This will probably piss folks off in tin-foil-hat land, but I have come to the conclusion that this is a very good idea.
I don't have any preconceived notions about the ethical nature of government. Control of things is the government's raison d'etre. There are limits to what they should be allowed to do, and those are clearly defined in the constitution. The US government has spent the last 21 years (or more) patiently shaving the margin between what is the maximum activity allowed by the constitution and their actions. In quite a few cases, they have broken through into illegal actions and there has only been minimal outcry.
Maybe I am being paranoid about the other countries of the world, but my travels (and they aren't trivial) leads me to hold the opinion that a majority of the other countries in the world may well be run by bigger assholes than the assholes who run ours. I genuinely feel that keeping an eye on them is a great idea. They aren't really our friends.
This basic belief complicates my view on Mr. Snowden.
When he came out and informed the world that the US was running a large scale information harvesting program on its own citizens, I was outraged. In my opinion, this action was a massive governmental overreach, clearly unconstitutional and frightening in its implications.
Then he had to go and ruin it for me. He then went on to outline how our government spies on other governments. Idiot.
Look when it comes to peeking in on other governments, the NSA was doing what it was designed to to do.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is the central producer and manager of signals intelligence for the United States, operating under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. Estimated to be the largest and costliest of all U.S. intelligence organizations, NSA is primarily tasked with collecting and analyzing information and data of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence value, including through clandestine means. The agency is also responsible for the protection of U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography.I am not seeing anything that the NSA does in monitoring other governments as a bad thing. Keep it up lads. You are earning your nickels honestly.
So when Snowden informed the world of how we spy on other countries, he did in fact break the law and break faith with the rest of us.
The only thing funny in this whole charade is the way that Putin handled the issue. Masterful. When he uttered the statement I started chuckling
"If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that," Putin said. "If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips."Now, how to handle him is unclear. He did the country a huge favor for pointing out an incredible government overreach. He did the country a disservice reminding the world we try to have our fingers in every pie, taking the temperatures.