So, apparently the Snowden cache contains quite a large
number of intercepted
communications, not just technical documents, PowerPoint
slides, and memos. This opens up a whole can of worms, and some new
possibilities for the cache.
Worms first: several journalists have access to an incredibly sensitive
cache of personal information. According to some NSA
has committed a horrible privacy violation of thousands of
innocent Americans. This is a big problem, but it requires some mental
gymnastics not to recognize that if Snowden had violated the privacy of
innocents by giving this information to journalists, so had the NSA by
storing it in the first place. Realistically, it's not one or the other,
it's both. Now that we know what it contains, the long term storage of
that portion cache by journalists becomes very problematic. On one
hand: it's evidence, on the other, it's private information on many
thousands of people.
While there are some problems, there are also new possibilities. First,
it could be a boon for defendants, and those facing legal jeopardy, to
confront the evidence against them, to receive a genuinely fair trial.
This is doubly important for drug cases, particularly those with DEA
involvement, because of the highly questionably practice of Parallel
wherein classified evidence is laundered, and is
reconstructed using traditional methods. In effect: perjury. Second, it
is prima facie evidence to use in lawsuits against the NSA, proof that
a plaintiff had been spied on. Third, one of the wilder
to Reveal the Secrets of Arab Dictators, really can
happen now. The US government's dealings with brutal regimes are
newsworthy, so are the dealings of those regimes against their own
One of the things that makes Cablegate
so powerful, and simultaneously
controversial, is the ability of ordinary citizens to query it, and
learn what the government had kept hidden. In at least
one case, it allowed a rendition
to seek justice. I am not suggesting
leaking it out in full, but ways of allowing ordinary citizens the ability to
get their own communications, and broadening access, should be considered.
Contrary to the opinions of those who described the Post's story as a dud,
it's the first page of the next chapter of the Snowden Saga,
with wide-reaching, and unpredictable consequences.
By Paul Dietrich, Jul 8, 2014