Government Contractor Arrested, Charged With Removing Classified Materials http://n.pr/2dKjhll
I get that after Snowden, the NSA and the entire U.S. intelligence community would be “jumpy” when it comes to private intelligence contractors, to potential traitors or whistle-blower types.
From what I recall about Snowden, though, I remember thinking (and posting as such at the time to a politics forum I frequent) that if he had altruistic/moral/patriotic motives to expose what he thought were programs involving vast government overreach, the worst thing he could have was go running to the Chinese first, then to the Russians.
I’m still, as a citizen, trying to understand the nature of any damage Snowden did. I came away with the feeling of not exactly objecting to the fact that the NSA was monitoring “everything”, but the way they were doing it, the sense that information could be easily abused by those entrusted with it for base political and opportunistic purposes that could lead to emerging tyrannical behaviors. Zealots can be a risk to our rights and freedoms, just as much as any external enemy. Checks & balances constantly re-evaluated. “Who watches the watchmen?”
Now this, with this Martin guy. Possession of physical documents and digital documents. “Theft” of around $1,000-worth of government property. (Would like some specifics on that one; sounds like more that pens and paper clips, but less than laptops; thumb drives?)
What were this guy’s motives? Treason? Altruism? Or, just a questionable work ethic where he took his work home with him, sloppy/careless when it came to his Top Secret clearance responsibility to handle those docs cautiously? “Top Secret” clearance or no, still sounds like a relative “worker bee” in the vast hive.
Basically, are these the same kind of charges against a certain presidential candidate? How greivous is this breach? Will we ever know? Can we trust their answers? Is this a “test run” for impeaching Hillary, if she gets elected in November, over the email server scandal?
The “Patriotic American” in me wants to believe the government is Right and Just in this. The skeptic in me reminds me that the government is staffed by humans capable of over-classifying damn near everything, and over-reacting to damn near everything. A lot of highly intelligent people concerned with rooting-out and stopping threats to our nation can still be cynically and paranoically trigger-happy. Forget the flyswatter or the shotgun; barest hint of a buzz, they might start “droning”.
We’ll see how this pans-out.
I just have this trepidation that there are so many overzealous ultra-rightwingers in our military and intelligence agencies anymore, any “responsible authority” can turn into a “petty tyrant” really quick.
EDIT (2016-10-07): I wrote the above one early morning, when I’d been awake after waking up at 2:30am for no reason and not able to get back to sleep.
I need to take back something i said.
When the domestic spying allegations were revealed about the NSA, I was pissed. I got more pissed as things went on. I also got pissed about talk about how much data private companies collected as well, and about how sloppy private companies could be with the data.
I did, however, eventually come back around to recognizing the value of the tactics and tools for NSA and other intelligence agencies in data mining. I get it. I just want to feel safe about how the government does things as well. I do not want to assume they are of such technical and moral perfection that they don’t need stricter oversight, don’t feel that they can just be turned loose to do as they please, and that we should just blindly trust them.
Checks & Balances. Accountability. Transparency, as much as possible. We are supposed to be the Good Guys. Not that good guys don’t have their secrets, or can’t be private; it’s just unwise and unnecessary to be inscrutable about everything. IMHO.
EDIT (2016-10-08): For perspective, on related subjects concerning Democratic-Republican systems and intelligence gathering —
Voting rights – and wrongs | Reveal:https://www.revealnews.org/episodes/voting-rights-and-wrongs/
“Keeping Tabs”  DATA & SURVEILLANCE IN AMERICA – BackStory with the American History Guys:http://backstoryradio.org/shows/keeping-tabs-2016/
Let’s deny Isis its binary struggle – and celebrate the grey zone | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/20/isis-binary-struggle-grey-zone-jihadism