Just shouting at people doesn't answer questions. Our government -- from bureaucrats to legislators to top leadership -- has chosen shouting over listening. That leads to the kind of shock and embarrassment Congress and White House suffer when one of us is forced to shout back, using "leaks" and, later, publicized dialogues with our allies.
We have plenty of evidence that America's problem isn't that we're attacked on all sides by traitors and predators but rather that we refuse to listen to our own dissenters and even less to America's critics beyond our borders. Al Qaeda is much less of a threat to America than we are to ourselves. And Edward Snowden did try to warn us about the persistent law-breaking within NSA but no one listened. And, by the way, he had no protections as a whistle-blower.
Mr. Snowden also took issue with the contention by some officials that whistle-blower laws would have protected him if he had gone through official channels. President Obama, for example, has pointed to an executive order he issued that extended protections against retaliation to employees of intelligence agencies, saying, “So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.”But Mr. Snowden noted that Mr. Obama’s directive covers only intelligence agency employees, not outside contractors, so “individuals like me were left with no proper channels.” ...NYT
So Snowden agrees to talk to Europe about what that rogue agency -- NSA -- has been doing.
American officials want to talk to Snowden but -- what else is new? -- they still don't want to listen. That makes the former NSA contractor's communications with officials of the European Parliament all the more irritating to our government.
Snowden remains wide open to dialogue. And what he's telling the Europeans is that he tried to talk to officials within NSA about the illicit surveillance that was taking place within the agency but that no one wanted to know. He was told to "let the issue be someone else’s problem." That was the (typical!) bureaucratic response.
Some people, he said, responded with “well-meaning but hushed warnings not to ‘rock the boat’ ” for fear of retaliation like being investigated by the F.B.I. as a suspected leaker.
“Everyone in the intelligence community is aware of what happens to people who report concerns about unlawful but authorized operations,” he wrote. ...
... Other people, he said, told him to “let the issue be someone else’s problem.”
“Even among the most senior individuals to whom I reported my concerns,” he continued, “no one at N.S.A. could ever recall an instance where an official complaint had resulted in an unlawful program being ended, but there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.” ...NYT
Coming up on Monday 3/10/14 -- in the midst of SXSW in Austin, Texas -- is a live interview with Snowden.
Which is bound to enrage Washington's finest and get some attention from our most notorious media made up of professional shouters.
Who need to to more listening and less yelling.