Ed Snowden got away with taking a trove of secret documents from the NSA because an organization whose mission is to watch everyone failed to watch him. The NSA failed IT Security 101: segregation of duties. A single individual should not have the ability to access sensitive data as well as the ability to control the audit trail.This is a long and very interesting post, about the limits of trust in the modern Surveillance State. This is the canary in the mine shaft:
If you own a bank, you don’t want the person you’ve hired to guard the money to be the same guy who’s keeping the books.
By the same token, though, the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ are also operating with almost no oversight, despite what Barack Obama or David Cameron might try to tell you. That’s because they’re the ones who get to say who is and isn’t a terrorist suspect, then scoop them up and lock them away.
In other words, a “terrorist” is anyone the spooks say is a terrorist. In the past, we might reasonably assume our intelligence agencies targeted people who presented a potential threat to us. With the Miranda detention, it’s clear that a “terrorist” is anyone who presents a threat to them.
Not to sound too paranoid, but: This is how totalitarianism starts.
I worry that we will wake up to headlines that Greenwald has died in a car accident. Or from a drug overdose. Or that he got caught by a stray bullet in a convenience store robbery. Or maybe they’ll take a page out of Vladimir Putin’s book and just assassinate him in broad daylight. And all we’ll have left are a series of Internet conspiracy theories.RTWT, which includes a plausibly convincing argument that it is simply impossible for NSA to win this.
Because if this latest round of intimidation fails to work – and both the Guardian and Greenwald have vowed that it won’t – that’s the next logical step.