Missing the forest for the trees

Missing the forest for the trees

by digby

I don't talk about Edward Snowden and his motives much because I really don't care much about what they are. People who do this sort of thing usually have complicated reasons and eccentric personalities so there's not much to be learned. I am interested, however, in the information he revealed and the deeper conversation we are having about the surveillance state we're building and the ramifications for our democracy.

Sadly, I also think that this whole episode is an excellent illustration of how easily a nation accepts authoritarian policies without even noticing it is doing it. Indeed, the focus on personalities is possibly one of the ways in which it happens. It's also true that not many people seem to care much about the substance of this issue.

For instance, the leak to McClatchey about the Insider Threat Program is getting no traction at all. None of the major newspapers or political shows have followed up as far as I can tell. They're so interested in chasing down Edward Snowden (which I understand, it's a helluva story)and insinuating that Glenn Greenwald is an aider and abettor (which is truly despicable and completely unacceptable) that they can't seem to find the time to discuss the larger story that's been uncovered by all of this: our government is secretly using new technology in ways that threatens our liberty and destabilizes the world. You can hate on Snowden and Greenwald if you feel you must, but you must also admit that our elite institutions are changing this society without our permission.

Maybe that's ok with you. But if it is then you have an obligation to defend it and explain why the "prickly" personality of Glenn Greenwald and the alleged betrayal of Edward Snowden are what we should be concerned about in all this. Because regardless of the people involved, the revelations are what they are whether you think the motives for revealing them are pure or not, the evidence is what it is.