07 Feb “Don’t worry about it”
Image by Leandro De Carvalho from Pixabay
I’ve been reading Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State. Needless to say, it’s nightmare fuel.
From page 42 of the paperback version:
“…It was during his stint with the CIA that Snowden began to feel seriously troubled by his government’s actions.
‘Because of the access technical experts have to computer systems, I saw a lot of secret things’ Snowden told me, ‘and many of them were quite bad. I began to understand that what my government really does in the world is very different from what I’d always been taught. That recognition in turn leads you to start reevaluating how you look at things, to question things more.’
One example he recounted was an attempt by CIA case officers to recruit a Swiss banker to provide confidential information. They wanted to know about the financial transactions of people of interest to the United States. Snowden recounted how one of the undercover officers befriended the banker, got him drunk one night, and encouraged him to drive home. When the banker was stopped by the police and arrested for DUI, the CIA agent offered to help him personally in a variety of ways, provided that the banker cooperated with the agency. The recruitment effort ultimately failed. ‘They destroyed the target’s life for something that didn’t even work out and simply walked away,’ he said. Beyond the scheme itself, Snowden was disturbed by how the agent bragged about the methods used to reel in his catch.
An added element of frustration came from Snowden’s efforts to make his superiors aware of the problem in computer security or systems he thought skirted ethical lines. Those efforts, he said, were almost always rebuffed.
‘They would say this isn’t your job, or you’d be told you don’t have enough information to make those kinds of judgments. You’d basically be instructed not to worry about it,’ he said. He developed a reputation among colleagues as someone who raised too many concerns, a trait that did not endear him to superiors. ‘This was when I really started seeing how easy it is to divorce power from accountability, and how the higher the levels of power, the less oversight and accountability there was.” emphasis mine
That seems to be a trend, doesn’t it? Don’t worry about it. Hush up. It’s not your job, it’s not your place to think about these things. You are a poor little peon who can’t possibly understand economics anyway, so stop it. You aren’t capable of making those types of judgments, so why bother? Allow the overlords to tell you what to think. When we say it’s time to panic, you can panic. Otherwise, assume there is no recession and get lost in mindless celebrity gossip and reality TV.