NSA documents released by Edward Snowden have revealed years of false statements by the government, the capture of calls and emails from every citizen, the monitoring of tens of millions of people globally, the surveillance of world leaders including close allies, and the perjury by National Intelligence Director James Clapper. It has caused the Obama Administration — after denials of violations — to admit violations of U.S. laws and abuse of surveillance powers. Now General Keith Alexander, NSA director, says enough. We simply cannot stand any more disclosures of wrongdoing so Alexander wants to see actions taken against the media to prevent further disclosures.
The NSA surveillance has triggered the greatest diplomatic crisis in decades. The Obama Administration is promising reforms and investigations as if these were acts committed by some alien power. Alexander however has returned to the root of the problem in his view — and that of many politicians. It is the media. They are the ones who are continuing to disclose abuses. Stop the media, stop the disclosures. Stop the disclosures, stop the questions. It is so simple and Alexander cannot understand why we cannot come up with a way to shut the media up. He raised the question in an interview with one of the few remaining media sites viewed as friendly, the Defense Department’s own “Armed With Science” blog:
“I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it just doesn’t make sense . . .We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policy-makers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on.”
Alexander’s hostility to the free press is so distortive that he actually views the press as “selling” secrets by informing the public of surveillance abuses by his agency. This would of course mean that the Pentagon Papers were “sold” by the press and should have also been stopped.
Just to be clear, the “wrong” can cannot be allowed to go on is the exercise of a free press. Just as other civil liberties have been discarded by the Obama Administration in the name of fighting terrorism, it is now time to curtail the free press — just another demonstration of loyalty demanded from citizens by their government.