HOT BLAST: What to make of Mr. Snowden
Jun 11, 2013 | 1500 views |  0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This 2007 file photo shows the National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
This 2007 file photo shows the National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Plenty of new developments in the NSA/phone records story. The latest from the AP is hereOne major angle on the story is what to make of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who is the source on major stories in The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Here are a few catching our eye today.

DAVID BROOKS in The New York Times: "Though thoughtful, morally engaged and deeply committed to his beliefs, he appears to be a product of one of the more unfortunate trends of the age: the atomization of society, the loosening of social bonds, the apparently growing share of young men in their 20s who are living technological existences in the fuzzy land between their childhood institutions and adult family commitments."

JEFFREY TOOBIN in The New Yorker: "The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this."

BEVERLY GAGE in Slate: "To say that the expansion of surveillance powers comes with a high—and historically well-documented—risk of abuse is not to say that the NSA is interested in your cat photos. If you’ve never expressed an edgy political idea, you’re probably not at great personal risk. The people swept into the net at moments of expanded intelligence powers have almost always been outspoken political dissenters or critics of the intelligence establishment. The basic premise of the civil libertarian stance is that what happens to those people matters to all of us—not only because 'we might be next' but because the free exchange of political ideas and criticism is the heart of American democracy."

JOHN JUDIS in The New Republic: "One reason that I am particularly angry about what the administration has done is that I’ve seen it all before. In the wake of the Cold War, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency acquired tremendous power to investigate and deter what Washington believed was political subversion. There was little oversight of either agency."

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