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Re:Post Ri-Post #2 --Whistle-blowers and Sodomy (i.e, non whistle-blowers): Not in my house, Virginia!

Posted by cdonegal on June 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Of Rants ad Tyrants

Images, Whistle-blowers and Sodomy (i.e, non whistle-blowers): Not in my house, Virginia!

 

First, a shout-out to Matt McClain and the WP editors who chose to print his image of a seven-year-old boy playing in a waterfall at Yards Park in the District. It captured the essence of summer and the delight of the child in a shot that captured the beauty of the falling water.

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And now, in my continuing quest to take cheap shots in brief to what I read in The Washington Post:

The Snowden Saga (AKA “Where’s Edward” has taken us to Moscow, one of the Axis of Democracy country’s courageous enough to defend revealing state secrets. As long as the state is not the Russian Federation.

Joining its brothers in fighting human rights violations—China, Cuba, and Ecuador—Russia is allowing Snowden to hide out in a secure section of the airport, probably disguised as Robin Williams. According to Colum Lynch’s front page article, the Russian foreign minister said, “We have nothing to do with Mr. Snowden or his movements around the world. He chose the route himself.” (We provided only the airplane and the hideout.)

Apparently, if you embarrass the United States government, entering Russia without a passport is not illegal. Mr. Snowden’s was revoked June 23.

Ever the philosopher and pacifist activist, Russian president Vladimir Putin, former chief of the Russian Boys Scouts, usually called the KGB, said, “Ask yourself: should such people be extradited to be jailed or not?”

Well, yes.

Should Pussy Riot be imprisoned for a brief cheeky but peaceful protest against—what was it now? Oh yes—the violation of basic human rights in Russia?

Well, sure, but that was Russia, not the United States.

Not only is it preposterous that Snowden’s quest for safe haven takes him on a tour of to the most egregious violators of human rights, but defending him as a whistleblower also defies logic. Snowden has admitted that he had specifically sought employment that would provide him access to the classified information he revealed.

In the interest of full-frontal disclosure, let me confess that I began my adult working life as counter-intelligence agent. That was a long time ago in years and even longer when measured in terms of public attitude. Those of us working in the field took seriously the responsibilities that came with at least a Top Secret clearance, and some of our more seasoned readers might recall that our sojourn in Southeast Asia at that time had detractors.

I recall a telephone call on a non-secure line when I mentioned to colleague that The Post (We have history.) had a front page story about a purported and classified Phượng Hoàng (Phoenix) program, and although I neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the program in that conversation, I was chastised for saying the name of an operation I knew to be classified on an open line. I felt embarrassed and justly rebuked at the lapse.

It was a different time. As smarmy as it sounds, we believed in keeping our word. We believed in honor and integrity.

Even from my vantage point some 40 years later, I can’t imagine the men I worked with not being grievously offended at the thought of exposing classified information. We believed in that we were doing; we took seriously our charge of protecting U.S. secrets.

I recall another time when I happened upon a practice that violated civilians’ privacy. I understood (and probably even approved) of the aim and rationale of the practice, but I was not happy or comfortable about it, so I reported my concerns to the special agent in charge of my office. I remember that he dismissed my concern, an unsatisfactory response, but I had followed procedure and followed the chain of command and allowed myself to believe that that was the extent of my duty.

Never did it occur to me to—I would have been scandalized if anyone had hinted that I should—expose the practice to the public and violate my oath and position of trust and responsibility. Indeed, I have no doubt that I would have reported anyone who suggested that I do so.

Did that make me a good little Nazi who only followed orders?

No.

I believed (and do believe) in our country; I believed that what we were doing was important. I believed that our reasons for impinging on privacy under certain conditions, when our national interests were involved were valid if not technically entirely legal.

Do we cry national interest more easily now? Do we toss the phrase out like so much chaff to distract from or defend anything we want to do?

Maybe.

But I believe that revealing national secrets you have sworn to keep is dishonorable and should have serious consequences. If I could whisper to a drone where to find Mr. Snowden, my coffee would not have time to cool before I put in the call.

Does that mean that I think it is not wrong for the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct wholesale electronic surveillance on our emails and phone calls?

It kind of does.

No, it certainly does.

Does anyone seriously believe that the NSA is capable of—or interested in— actually reading every email or listening in on each of the millions of phones calls we engage in every day?

Of course not.

The agency seeks key words and trends and addresses, and if they’re not doing so resulting in a terrorist attack or other atrocity, who could stop the rains of criticisms and the tides of public opinion that quickly would turn against the government that had not taken every measure to prevent it?

The outrage in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrates the kind of rage that flows from not being aware of a threat. If the intelligence community had picked up on the brothers’ communications, lives could well have been saved. Given what we now about the notice that intelligence agencies had received raises another question, but our egos are far bigger than the capacity or interest of the NSA to know what you and Grandma are gossiping about.

We used to say, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to read about on the front page.” That is true also of what you say: Remember the monkeys! (That probably will never catch on as a battle cry.)

If only the sense of honor that was as prevalent as it was profound 40 years ago were common today, we would all be better off. Not the sense of honor that calls for murdering a daughter or sister who is found alone with a male who is not a close relative, but the kind of honor demonstrated by the likes of Thomas More or Thomas Beckett, men of character and strength, who shunned expediency and stood by their convictions to the death.

Edward Snowden has harmed his country and deserves to pay the price for that.

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And now for something completely different:

Virginia Attorney General (and Governor “Diamond Bob” McDonnell’s sometimes henchman) Ken Cuccinelli wants to turn the Supreme Court’s sodomy decision on its head…if you will. The Republican nominee to succeed McDonnell as governor—or as the current governor appears to perceive his role: designated expensive gift recipient—has decided to suspend his fight against global warning evidence to battle the vicious crime of sodomy between two consenting adults.

On Tuesday, the morals mouthpiece filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve Virginia's anti-sodomy law as a result of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' March decision to overturn a 2005 conviction involving oral sex, saying that sodomy statutes cannot criminalize sexual activity between consenting adults.

(At last, you know whose eyeballs those are peeping in your bedroom.)

I wonder whether he would have assumed that position if he had the...ummm---guts to say no to his wife.

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Craig Lancto

June 26, 2013

Categories: None

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