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June 11, 2013

DIFFERENT THIS TIME

I was part of the media horde that witnessed Daniel Ellsberg’s surrender to authorities in the federal courthouse in Boston in 1971 after he leaked the Pentagon Papers.

In the wake of the NSA leaks committed by Edward Snowden I’ve seen Snowden compared to Ellsberg (and have read laudatory comments made by Ellsberg about Snowden), but I don’t believe the comparison is valid.

What Ellsberg leaked was a secret history of the Vietnam War that was politically embarrassing to the Nixon administration and its predecessors. Ellsberg leaked an analysis of past events, things that were largely over and done. It provided added fuel for the already-strong antiwar sentiment in the country at the time.

What Snowden leaked was information that potentially affects the here and now of our national security.

And while the Pentagon Papers were controversial and polarizing, the safety of the American people was never in question or jeopardized by the leak. It seems to me the situation is different now and has been since 9/11.

The debate over secrecy, surveillance, and safety can be worthwhile, if conducted rationally and not for political expediency (hah!), but it is seriously troubling and frustrating that an immature, look-at-what-I-did Dennis the Menace is playing god for the rest of us.

10:29 am          Comments


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