By Myron Pauli
From the days of George Washington sneaking up on the Hessians in Trenton, we have harbored military secrets. We have, of course, also maintained a military “to secure these rights,” according to the Declaration of Independence.
And who does America recruit to “secure these rights” – a psychologically messed-up transgendered, 100 lb Welsh weakling named “Chelsea” Manning (Mistake 1). “We” then give this person a beyond-top secret clearance (Mistake 2). Perhaps the security investigators were too busy checking out the security risk caused by the member of my household with a police record – MY CAT!!! (This really happened!!!) – rather than investigate “Chelsea.”
The silliest part is how an Army private downloads 750,000 highly classified documents and gets away with it (Superbig Mistake 3). It is one thing to shoplift a candy bar from a store but this is emptying out the entire supermarket!
But surely the Defense Department learned from Manning – right? NO – apparently a GED high-school dropout named Edward Snowden also removes 2,000,000 beyond-top-secret documents from the NSA with no one the wiser until he heads off to China and outs himself. The government sucks up and stores a trillion words of information per inhabitant of Earth in Utah, but does not bother to protect its own supersecrets.
Rest assured that “privacy is respected.” If Snowden and Manning can just grab Megadocuments, how are we to be assured that Boris Badenov and Fu Manchu are not sitting at the NSA doing the very same on behalf of Putin and Xi?
Many documents are supposed to be “Sensitive, COMPARTMENTED Information.” “Compartmented” means that it should only be available to a extremely limited number of people – yet low-level employees like Snowden and Manning could steal millions of documents. Not only does the government ignore the Constitution but it ignores common-sense security protocols! Even former CIA boss John Deutch kept top secret documents on his internet-accessible home computer. How can these schnooks be trusted with our privacy?
Note that TOP SECRET is defined as information which could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to America. Stolen and released here were 3 million documents. HOW SPECIFICALLY did America suffer from this “exceptionally grave damage”??? Did Godzilla stomp over Maine? Was Iowa sucked up by a sinkhole? Did bubonic plague kill everyone in California? Was Duck Dynasty cancelled? Did employment in the US drop from 65% of adults to 58% ? – (yes – but this was related more to wasting trillions on idiotic wars than Snowden’s leaks)?
According to the news, the Pentagon has come out with an assessment of the 3 million “beyond exceptionally grave damage” incidents that have ruined life in America. Of course, it turns out that the “beyond exceptionally grave damage” is also TOP SECRET – yes, America has been destroyed but don’t tell a soul.
Or is the real scandal that trillions of $$$$ have been spent generating classified documents that are mostly worthless toilet paper, while this country remains utterly ignorant of anything that occurs overseas? That the US winds up funding and building up both sides in wars and pseudo-wars in third-world countries by people who generally hate our guts? That we have politicians who cannot find Niger on a map bloviating about the “evil of Snowden”? That the archived trillion-trillion bytes of searchable database on Americans is far more likely to be abused by paranoid politicians like Nixon, Clinton, Obama, and Christie against domestic political opponents than to sort out minutia between illiterate Taliban goat-herders in Afghanistan?
At best, after Abdul blows up his backpack, we may find that he had earlier been “talking Jihad” with Ishmael and we subsequently kill Ishmael and 50 others at a wedding party proudly announcing that we have killed “Ishmael the potential terrorist,” while forgetting the relatives of the other 50 who are new terrorist recruits.
What America has made is an NSA “Keystone-Kops-Gestapo” that is as inept as it is insidious – sucking up a whirlwind of mostly useless data and the 4th Amendment in the process. While the NSA archives our tweeting and our twerking, let us not forget Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither”. The “exceptionally grave damage” is to our freedoms!
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.