Ted Koppel in The Wall Street Journal on overreacting to terrorism…somewhere before Tim Graham’s point lies substance

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 University tweets, “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.”

Koppel:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324653004578650462392053732.html

Atlantic Wire (last item) Five Best Wednesday Columns:  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/five-best-wednesday-columns/68072/

 

They Know Much More Than You Think by James Bamford | The New York Review of Books

National Security Agency Seal
National Security Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

 

“In a recent New York Review blog post, Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch and a former federal prosecutor, commented that “upon scrutiny” many of the plots referred to by the NSA

 

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.”

 

They Know Much More Than You Think by James Bamford | The New York Review of Books.

 

James Bamford has written more about the NSA over a longer period than anyone I know.  This piece in the NYRB is worth reading.

 

 

 

Is Snowden an exception? Just think about it in context:

“* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”

This is from “Top Secret America,” a Washington Post project done by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin in 2010.  Although out of date, the website for this is still up and may have the best information we have.

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/ 

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?”