Yesterday’s Washington Post reported “NSA morale down after Edward Snowden revelations, former U.S. officials say“. I commented the following at Hacker News, which got voted as the top comment, and, as a testament to the ethos of tech-savvy people, at least in that community, one of my highest overall voted comments ever (see discussion here, and I recommend reading the comments on the Post’s page too).
More like “USA morale down after Edward Snowden revelations, much of U.S. population says,” I’d say.
That happens when you do something most people would feel shame for.
A major difference between NSA employees and the rest of us is that they can easily stop what they’re doing. Let’s hope their pitiful loss of morale leads them to develop a conscience, respect for the law, or whatever it takes to stop doing things that lead to feeling so bad.
From the article, â€œThey feel theyâ€™ve been hung out to dry, and theyâ€™re right.â€
Bullshit. They’re adults who chose to do what they did and work where they work.
We have emotions to guide our behavior. If they feel bad for the environment they chose to work in and the work they chose to do, maybe they should look in the mirror and ask if they ought to reconsider their choices and do something that doesn’t draw shame and contempt from the rest of the world while undermining their county’s interests.
I also responded to someone else’s response. They wrote
I feel a lot of sympathy for these people. At the very least, they honestly believe they’re protecting this country and their friends/loved ones. It’s not their fault the higher-ups have botched the national security apparatus and turned it into something disgusting and unamerican. Most of them were/are likely unaware of the vast majority of what the agency does, and they had trust in their government that they worked at a trustworthy institution.
However, this is one major element that will lead to change. Internal rot will force an organization to adapt faster than any external pressure ever will. NSA workers, current and future, as well as decision-makers need to be forced into a position of deciding whether this surveillance is right for this country. No more sticking their head of their ass and ignoring what the NSA doeas. The revelations are out in the open and more are still coming out. This is not the time for ambivalance. It’s a time for making tough choices.
Â to which I responded
I can see sympathy up to when they discover their work wasn’t what they thought it was, for those that were caught off-guard. After all, if their boss was willing to lie to Congress on the record, who knows what lies he and the rest of the organization was willing to spew to them?
Once the revelations broke, they alone have responsibility for their actions. I can see giving them a month or two to figure out how to react and to make sure of the leaks’ authenticity.
At this point I don’t see how to see them as anything but complicit out of willful choice.
They can choose any moment to leave.
Or to blow the whistle and leak more information useful to the citizenry.
adding, to someone who responded that choosing to leave isn’t easy,
Choosing is simple. As I mentioned, I can see taking months to act.
As you can tell, I’m a fan of personal responsibility, public accountability, and the Fourth Amendment — sadly, to me, values I see my government moving away from. I’m holding off for now from predicting where things will go next. I’m posting mainly hoping to help influence my government back to these values, however slightly. It’s just one post, but it’s still more than nothing.