For all those civil libertarians of both the left and the right who think we ought to thank Edward Snowden for his actions in revealing NSA’s secret metadata collection program—or, at a minimum, believe the U.S. government should show leniency toward him should he ever come back to these shores—they might want to just stop for a moment and consider what else Mr. Snowden has revealed.
As Jim Geraghty of National Review wrote Monday:
Here’s just a partial list of Snowden’s leaks that have little or nothing to do with domestic surveillance of Americans:
The classified portions of the U.S. intelligence budget, detailing how much we spend and where on efforts to spy on terror groups and foreign states, doesn’t deal with Americans’ privacy. This leak revealed the intelligence community’s self-assessment in 50 major areas of counterterrorism, and that “blank spots include questions about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear components when they are being transported, the capabilities of China’s next-generation fighter aircraft, and how Russia’s government leaders are likely to respond to ‘potentially destabilizing events in Moscow, such as large protests and terrorist attacks.’” The Pakistani, Chinese, and Russian intelligence agencies surely appreciate the status report.
Our cyber-warfare capabilities and targets don’t deal with Americans’ privacy. The revelation that the U.S. launched 231 cyber-attacks against “top-priority targets, which former officials say includes adversaries such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea and activities such as nuclear proliferation” in 2011 has nothing to do with Americans’ privacy.
The extent and methods of our spying on China have nothing to do with Americans’ privacy.
British surveillance of South African and Turkish diplomats has nothing to do with Americans’ privacy.
The NSA’s successful interceptions of communications of Russian President Dimitri Medvedev has nothing to do with Americans’ privacy. This is not a scandal; it isliterally the NSA’s job, and now the Russians have a better idea of what messages were intercepted and when.
Revealing NSA intercepts and CIA stations in Latin America — again, nothing to do with U.S. citizens.
Revealing a U.K. secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East — nothing to do with U.S. citizens.
The fact that the United States has “ramped up its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms,” has “previously undisclosed concerns about biological and chemical sites there,” and details of “efforts to assess the loyalties of counterterrorism sources recruited by the CIA” . . .
The U.S.’s spying on Al-Jazeera’s internal communication system. . . .
NSA’s spying on OPEC . . .
NSA’s collecting data on the porn habits of Muslim extremist leaders in order to discredit them . . .
. . . none of these stories have much of a tie to Americans’ privacy.”
Yeah, as you can see, Snowden is a real patriot!