Ted Koppel in The Wall Street Journal on overreacting to terrorism “Terrorism, after all, is designed to produce overreaction,” writes, Koppel, the famed news broadcaster. And with America‘s wide closure of foreign embassies and drone strikes, “It appears to be working.” In particular, the U.S. permanent surveillance state has played directly into Al-Qaeda‘s hands. “We have created an economy of fear, an industry of fear, a national psychology of fear. Al Qaeda could never have achieved that on its own. We have inflicted it on ourselves,” he writes. James Breiner, director of the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua Universitytweets, “Couldn’t agree more w/ Ted Koppel.” But Tim Graham of conservative media watchdog NewsBusters caustically writes “Koppel wants terrorism de-emphasized to the point that it’s seen as less dangerous to America than household ladder accidents.”
appear in fact to have been uncovered not because of the mass collection of our metadata but through more traditional surveillance of particular phone numbers or e-mail addresses—the kinds of targeted inquiries that easily would have justified a judicial order allowing review of records kept by communications companies or even monitoring the content of those communications.”
If, in 2010, 854,000 people held top secret clearances, even if one allows for many of them never having any “need to know” anything at that level, I wonder how many other “Snowdens” at various levels of the government who do have a “need to know” have shared the secrets entrusted to them with others whose need is much less than the people of the United States. If only 10%, a percentage I deliberately chose to be low, have a “need to know,” that is 85,400 in 2010. If 1% of those, a number again chosen to be low, i.e. a low percentage of a low percentage, that would be 854 people in 2010.
What have we learned from all the Snowden coverage about others who may not be sharing information with the public but may be sharing it with others whose interests may not coincide with what we sometimes call “the public’s right to know?”