June 24, 2013

Uh oh, while David Gregory is busy casting aspersions on Glenn Greenwald, it is interesting to note that not a single media outlet has bothered to hold a single Bush administration member accountable for their vast lying and abuses. Even more egregious, Fox News actually looked to the most infamous Bushie war monger and unapologetic liar, Dick Cheney, to opine on the NSA surveillance scandal.

Darth Cheney, much like his assertions of Saddam Hussein's potential nuclear threat, isn't afraid to make up allegations out of whole cloth and suggested to Chris Wallace that whistleblower Edward Snowden might actually be a Chinese spy.

"I'm deeply suspicious obviously because he went to China. That's not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth," Cheney said. "It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this."

Cheney said he is also "very, very worried that [Snowden] still has additional information that he hasn't released yet, that the Chinese would welcome the opportunity and probably willing to provide immunity for him or sanctuary for him, if you will, in exchange for what he presumably knows or doesn't know."

But now with the news that Snowden has sought asylum in Equador, there goes Cheney's accusations. Will any reporter go after him as disdainfully as they've gone after Glenn Greenwald?

Snowden’s sudden departure from Hong Kong, with a snarky assist from the Hong Kong government, seems to have torpedoed this simplistic and distracting narrative, however. Any tale that has Snowden still be a Chinese spy but leaving China for Ecuador (via Moscow) to throw US intelligence off the scent would have to have thrown Mr. Occam out with the bathwater before it could even begin.

I wondered aloud whether we’d see any ‘mea culpas’ from the natsec pundits and insiders who catapulted the “Chinese Spy” rumor ( we haven’t yet) and my colleague Matt Elliot came back with a very astute observation: Snowden seems to have come from the same hacktivist school of nation state ‘disruption theory‘ as Assange and while 9/11 represented the beginning of a very awkward transition, the national security establishment is still very much bound by an entrenched Cold War mentality. They are still pretty much incapable of recognizing a non-state actor if it doesn’t come complete with long beard and keffiyeh – and the attendant “shadow states” so beloved of the Taliban and Al Qaeda which make them only a passing-point on the road to the kind of anarcho-libertarian stateless groups Assange talks about and the Anonymous group says it actualizes. Thus comes the inevitable assumption about Snowden being a state spy and the inevitable barking up the wrong trees.

Which would all be rather amusing if General Alexander – the man in charge of the sprawling NSA, chief of the Central Security Service and commander of the US Cyber Command which comprises he Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army – didn’t insist on describing his cyberwar duties in terms that exactly echo and often deliberately reference the Cold War apparatus of nuclear warfare.

There are very real and critical issues that Snowden's revelations should rightfully spur debate. But until all these continually wrong and lying apparatchiks lose their platform to cloud the issues, we will never get to them.

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