Michael Daniel, the White House Cyber Chief, spoke recently to some Navy Academy midshipmen about the horrible consequences of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations. In Daniel’s own words:
Make no mistake: We are going to be dealing with the fallout from that for all of your careers, and the impact that has had on our national security will reverberate for decades.
You at least have to hand it to the guy—he does have a flair for drama. But what is he talking about? I honestly don’t know. He wasn’t very specific. So he is either blowing smoke (likely), or hiding serious vulnerabilities through dissimulation (unlikely).
Most of what he said doesn’t even make sense. He has apparently spent the greater part of the last year “trying to figure out how to plug the holes that Mr. Snowden revealed that we have in the security of our classified networks.” And that’s bad because…? It seems like Daniel should be thanking Snowden for exposing weaknesses that could have been exploited later, right?
But let’s set all of that aside for a moment. Why is it that the majority of Americans don’t see Snowden as a great menace? Why is it that the majority of Americans see Snowden as a hero rather than a criminal? He exposed practices that we don’t think are good. And we don’t think those practices would have been ended voluntarily. We feel Snowden didn’t really have a choice.
And, honestly, we just don’t trust the civil government to do the right thing. When a spokesperson for the White House says that Snowden did major damage that will take decades to repair, part of me says, “Right on. I hope they never fix it.” Why is that my first reaction? The only thing I can conclude is that the civil government has become our enemy. That’s sad.