Why Government "Winning" Is Bad for You

12/02/2013 09:45

by Laissez Faire

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, thinks Edward Snowden and his NSA revelations did some good. "I think it's clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen."

It might be tough for government officials to admit it, but Snowden brought to light serious problems in the way America handles its foreign and domestic security. Even President Obama said he "welcomes debate" when it comes to the proper balance of security and privacy.

But almost six months after the former NSA contractor uncovered the government's dirty laundry, nothing of any substance has happened.

In fact, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal, the facts suggest things are regressing. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Administration, offered to resign in the wake of the summer's security scandals.

As one former defense official said in a story in The Wall Street Journal, "The officials also didn't think his resignation would solve the security problem and were concerned that letting him leave would wrongly hand Mr. Snowden a win."

The White House rejected the resignation.


In matters of national security, the government must "win" at any cost.  Even if that means allowing liars like James Clapper and Keith Alexander to keep their highly sensitive government positions. The president might say publicly that he's open to re-examining the problems with his security agencies, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, he'd rather keep the status quo intact.

Maybe the White House's position on national security is evolving. By that, we mean it changes according to the latest opinion polls. When the spying scandals were in full "on" mode last summer, President Obama, Sen. Feinstein, and all the other government officials in the security loop made sure you knew they were concerned as well.

But when public opinion shifted to other problems, so did the administration's talking points.

The media are moving on to broken websites and health care reform. Less attention is now given to the government spooks in the back room.

Every so often, Edward Snowden releases another security violation and the media turn their attention to America's security problems. After that blows over, it's business as usual.

In the meantime, we're still waiting for that national debate.


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