This post zeros in on the gray area that the Chelsea Manning leaks speak to, that of the ability of national leaders to conduct business, on a level that open government advocates need to at least be aware of and acknowledge, for they themselves could not have done what they have done in plain view of the world, and to accomplish what they did required not only secrecy, but deception, to pull it off. For that reason I’m less sympathetic to Manning than to Snowden, and for that matter hostile to a Congress that wishes to interfere in foreign affairs, such as the Syrian or Iranian deals, because they too must make certain deals and compromises in private and out of the public view, while concealing certain facts and situations from their constituents in order to do so.
Back in July, Bandar bin Sultan met with Vladimir Putin. As part of an effort to buy off Putin’s support of Bashar al-Assad, Bandar allegedly promised to be able to prevent terrorist attacks tied to the Sochi Olympics.
As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.” [my emphasis]
Admittedly, this version of the threat was Putin’s version of it, and admittedly Putin has his own history of allowing attacks to happen.
No one needs to look further than the poll of Americans believing the theory of evolution, for forty percent of them are too lazy to distinguish in their own minds the difference between believing a thing, evolution, and believing in a thing, so any other thing more acute than stated is also a playground for manipulation and deceit. Not exactly whom one wishes to see in places of power at an international level in charge of nuclear weapons. If I am wary of Islamic Republics, Christian Nations and Jewish States, then my reasoning is obvious.
In that respect Jeff Jarvis is correct about the NSA story, it isn’t about privacy so much as it is about authority, and that is authority without any responsibility, one that answers to no laws and as such is a tyranny, which is quite distinct from of the WikiLeaks story. If one may lie to Congress in public and under oath without repercussions, then pray tell just what do you mean by oversight, or for that matter the rule of law?