I haven’t posted for a while but my buddy Danny asked me my opinion on the “NSA Leaker”, Edward Snowden.
I had to pause and think a bit. You see, I do the same type of work as Mr Snowden did. I’ve been doing Sys Admin work for years and years; basically, I’m the god of the machine. I can do all, see all, read all, and delete all. I can read all your mail or files (unless you encrypt them). I can look at all the pictures posted on my machines. And under normal circumstances, I don’t do any of these things because it’s not nice. Now, there may be circumstances where I have no choice – where the action of a user is causing harm to the systems – then I can go look because I’m fixing a problem.
So Snowden looked. And found some really interesting stuff. And disclosed it.
So what do I think of Snowden?
I’m old enough to remember Watergate. Wanna learn how to leak? Take a lesson from Watergate. The quick version is that an inside source nicknamed “Deep Throat” passed along information about the Republican break in (and attempted coverup of) the Democratic Party headquarters to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post who told the world in their book “All the President’s Men”. These leaks happened periodically – and everyone was glued to their seats – waiting to see what got disclosed.
Ultimately, President Richard Nixon resigned and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, Egil Krogh, White House Counsels Charles Colson and John Dean, and presidential adviser John Ehrlichman all went to jail. Yes, that’s right. The President resigned and Bad guys in government went to jail.
And maybe it’s because Deep Throat Kept His Mouth Shut. He never talked. Neither did Woodward or Bernstein. 30 years later Vanity Fair outed him. Those are the selfless actions of a patriot; that guy was a hero. It was Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI.
Unlike Mr. Snowden… who managed to keep his mouth shut for 30 minutes… until “NSA Whistleblower Outs Himself”
At which point all the Bad Things (TM) the government’s been doing became completely overshadowed by the existence of Mr. Snowden. Now it’s just a big game of “Where’s Waldo”, and “Where’s Waldo gonna get asylum?”
By disclosing his identity, the entire discussion has changed. Snowden is now the main attraction, and not the abusive actions of the government he revealed.
You blew it Ed. You know better. You’re an admin for the NSA.. you know how to be anonymous. And reporters still know how to break stories and keep their mouths shut.
We’d have been glued to the real story, and you’d have been a legend.