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How Snowden’s Revelations Have Strengthened the NSA

Written by Gary North on May 14, 2014

It has been a year since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA.

I appreciate what Snowden did. His decision to leak the stolen documents has done the conservative movement an enormous favor. It has blown to smithereens the greatest single myth of conservatism: “If the American people knew about this, there would be an uprising.” No, there wouldn’t.

Here is a variation: “If the voters knew what is being done to them by the Conspiracy, they would throw out the conspirators at the next election.” No, they wouldn’t.

I have heard variants of these arguments for 50 years. Conservatives don’t learn. They think that by exposing the Bad Guys, they will defeat the Bad Guys. They’re wrong.

Snowden has proven, as no one in my era has better proved, that exposure of the Bad Guys in government has no negative effect on them.

If exposure does come, and the public does nothing to thwart the hidden Bad Guys, then the Bad Guys no longer have to worry about further exposure. It will be old news. At this point, they can do even more to secure their position of power. The pressure blows over. There may be a time of bad publicity, but this does not change anything fundamental.

Before Snowden, the best examples were the big bankers, who were bailed out a taxpayers’ expense in 2009. They got richer. The public knows. The public groused a little. Did this hurt the bankers? No. They got bonuses for their failures. Congress bailed out the big banks, and there were no negative public sanctions on either Congress or the big banks. It’s business as usual.

The voters know. The voters have done nothing. It’s old news.

But Snowden’s revelations have gone far beyond the big bank bailouts of 2009. They have thrown light on a power grab by the government that is perpetual. It was generally hidden. James Bamford’s book, The Puzzle Palace (1983), did good work. It had no negative effect on the NSA. But he did not have incontrovertible evidence. Snowden did, and he released it. He got worldwide publicity.

The NSA is more powerful than ever. From now on, any further exposure is old news.  No harm, no foul.



(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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26 thoughts on “How Snowden’s Revelations Have Strengthened the NSA

  1. alx brown says:

    Thank you Gary North . Intelligence over emotion gives the Tea Party more credibility. Why do you think the Church Committee of the seventies had the ability to achieve change after somewhat similar circumstances and since then nothing of the kind has happened ?

  2. Take Action Now says:

    The blind are leading the blind and they are headed into the ditch. Seek to see the truth. It appears that the forces of darkness have a stranglehold on the populace.

  3. peleus212 says:

    Corrupt is still corrupt, pay-offs are still pay-offs, and lobbyists still buy/ sell government at will. One thing is I have noticed our allies don't trust us, relations is going south, and some of the info sources seemed to have dried up. Other than that we're doing good. 😉

  4. If I may, as a former member of the intelligence world, tell you the principal, axiom of that world. It is that anything than can be exploited, WILL be exploited. It is true for military matters and it is true for personal and political purposes. Restrictions on use will ALWAYS be ignored by those in power. Snowden is the Billy Mitchel of the modern age. Mitchel was an aviator who disobeyed direct orders and proved that slow, expensive battleships could be sunk by fast, far ranging cheap fabric and wooden aircraft, a fact denied by the Navy. So by forcing the truth upon the Navy, more aircraft carriers than battleships were built. The carriers won the war in the Pacific by virtue of the fact that airplanes were able to both protect against Japanese aircraft, but could also sink Japanese ships hundreds of miles away. Otherwise the war would have come back to Hawaii, and with that as a base, to California.

    Snowden has revealed that America's own traitors have been spying on Americans at the the most intimate manner with the goal of eliminating any barriers to us becoming a lawless, totalitarian country.

  5. Patrick Duffy says:

    The blog said, "Snowden has proven, as no one in my era has better proved, that exposure of the Bad Guys in government has no negative effect on them."

    The voters have no power when BOTH PARTIES are the bad guys. When somebody of character actually tries to fight this beast, they get destroyed by the machine of the government class. The ballot box does not work, it's like a heroine injection that no longer has any effect on the addict. It has no force or power. It's a ruse to get the sheep to be quiet.

  6. Good blog….the truth in a nutshell.

  7. WhiteFalcon says:

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid you are correct. I have believed for about 40 years now that when America falls, it will signal the beginning of the next dark age, and I have seen nothing to change my mind about that.

  8. As a member of the Tea Party and also known to my friends as the most conservative person they've ever met I have to part ways with those who consider Snowden anything other than a traitor. He has revealed secrets to our enemies that will damage intelligence collection for years. NSA data mines phones calls for references to terrorism and potential terrorist plans. There is no evidence that any US citizen, not suspected of being a terrorist, has ever been damaged in any way. If NSA data collection was ever used for political purposes I would be the first in line to condemn it. I do not believe, that even this President, would dare attempt to coopt the NSA for such a purpose. They would not allow it and in any event something like that could not be kept secret. Having worked indirectly with the NSA many years ago I can only remember hard working patriots straining to keep us safe. Until someone can prove different I believe that is still the case. The NSA should be revered for their excellent work, most of which the average citizen will never hear about, and not trashed. If I had my way Snowden would be shot as a traitor. These anti NSA attitudes by Conservatives do not help our cause nor help protect us from terrorists. I say cut it out.

  9. They are succeeding. We are becoming a totalitarian oligarchy. And as always, those at the top become lawless. The least of us become virtual prisoner under a weight of laws, regulations, and restrictions. The President has brought us almost to that point. He has three year to achieve his dream. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  10. marjorie kinne says:

    This is perpetual anti-Christ government. What happe to core values? Gone. What happen to the Constitution almost torn apart? How about the Declaration of Independence? In shambles too. When will the citizens rise up? When will those core values return to our elected officials?

  11. Because the media diminished it. The general puplic are lazy. They expect the media to watch out for them as in the past. To warn them when they need to act. But that stopped some 40 years plus. When the media became the property of the DNC. The media now only serves the left ideology. They will led us to destruction if the left calls for it. And today that is the lefts goal. The general puplic doesn't know that their watchdogs are now the trained lapdogs of the DNC. Real reporters don't exist except outside lamestream media. If you are watching network news, MSNBC, CNN, NPR you are clueless dolts and morons.

  12. Oh please! Of course the people in the NSA who do the collection are hardworking (which isn't even relevant) and patriotic, but that has no bearing on the issue. They are owned by politicized people at the top who lie, cheat, and steal at the direction of their political masters, and all politicians are corrupt, only the degree of their corruption varies. When the people at the top, who don't run the show, but who own it, tells someone who does run the show to do something outside their legal charter, but within their abilities, it gets done. The NSA utilized a dragnet and that warehouse full of hard drives out west to store all transmissions of all forms. They have essentially xeroxed everyone's mail and communications and then lied by misdirection by saying they have not 'read' them. It's like Clinton said 'There is no sexual relation' and then said that the interpretation of that had to do with what the 'meaning of 'is', is.' Just know who spoke to who and who those people spoke to, allows the creation of an ' 'OB', which mean 'Order Of Battle' which is a map of communication, that allows you to create a picture that lets you back into inventing justifications acceptable to a FISA court for actual listening. That's trickery. The other thing is to target individuals without legal permission by forcing worker-bees to do your bidding and telling them that they don't have the need to know but that the targeting has been ok'd. Of course, the worker-bees don't get to see the authorizations, but must pull up and release the already collected 'files' to their superiors. Power Corrupts, Absolute Power corrupts, absolutely. All the work is compartmentalized and records are called up without question or documentation because the fox is in charge of the hen house. Nobody questions the patriotism or honesty of the collectors or analysts, but those above them are almost certainly corrupt, and answer and obey their masters. If not, they lose their jobs and careers. We used to refer to the NSA as Fort Fumble, but a more sinister name would today be more appropriate. I wonder how you translate GESTAPO into an Amerikan.?

  13. Yes it changes things. Everyone is watching what they do now.

  14. " He has revealed secrets to our enemies"

    No he hasn't.

    " that will damage intelligence collection for years."

    You say that as if it is a bad thing.

    "NSA data mines phones calls for references to terrorism and potential terrorist plans."

    And to collect blackmail material on all of us.

    "There is no evidence that any US citizen, not suspected of being a terrorist, has ever been damaged in any way."

    Wrong, you simply deny the evidence, that does not make it cease to exist.

    " If NSA data collection was ever used for political purposes I would be the first in line to condemn it."

    You are too late to be first in line, but you are more than welcome to get in line.

    "I do not believe, that even this President, would dare attempt to coopt the NSA for such a purpose."

    What you believe has no effect on reality.

    "Having worked indirectly with the NSA many years ago I can only remember hard working patriots straining to keep us safe."

    Thanks for admitting you are a lying shill.

    " Until someone can prove different I believe that is still the case."

    All of us couldn't care less about your beliefs, they are irrelevant.

    "The NSA should be revered for their excellent work, most of which the average citizen will never hear about, and not trashed."

    Don't tell us what we should or should not do.

    "If I had my way Snowden would be shot as a traitor."

    Not if I beat you to the draw.

    "These anti NSA attitudes by Conservatives do not help our cause nor help protect us from terrorists. I say cut it out."

    Save it for someone who cares.

  15. Phillip the Bruce says:

    But he HAS revealed secrets to the enemies. He has revealed them to US, and WE are the enemies of the US Gunverment.

  16. Stuart Shepherd says:

    100% agree (Mr. Brown and Mr. north) and excellent thesis/theme/truth that should be remembered and and reminded of constantly and fundamentally. Conservatism vs liberalism are two completely different mindsets which, in the end, are good vs evil (when you are talking about true conservatism, that is). As an extreme, is Satan (or Hitler) likely to lose his "mindset" and all of a sudden be outraged by amoral or unethical behavior? Do they even RECOGNIZE anything as amoral or unethical from their perspective (although they, essentially, hate God). The answer is "no"- they are not disturbed and will shrug it off as "everybody- meaning including "consevatives"- does it so so what. This is an effective lie for evil- their forte- as we are all fallen and they will always be able to exploit "error" in the essentially righteous man or law, etc. Not to preach (but it's too late) but Satan is the "god of this world" and DOES actually "win" the war overall, from his perspective- only to even further glorify the righteous from Gods' and in the end. The war has already been won, over 2000 years ago. We have only to "latch" on to that winning spirit, the Holy Spirit. You/we may have SOME victories in this world, but asuredly in the next. Any victories we DO win are by actions, rather than words (although words have power and are the ammo). The Tea Party meets that description (and is predictably villified by the evil and with false accusations hurled- their forte).

  17. An unduly pessimistic view. For one thing, the fight isn't over yet! I see the effect of Snowden in the reactions of ordinary Internet users, who now understand viscerally that "terms of service" and "privacy policies" are meaningless, and that everything that travels over the Net is forever "out there" and subject to exploitation by hostile parties. This is a very important basic truth that few people grasped before and that got me a lot of "who invited HIM?" looks when I used to say it. Encryption use is not rising as fast as I would like it to, but there are sound reasons for that, and they are being addressed by principled entrepreneurs. Give it a couple of years, Mr. North – don't be so quick to dismiss your fellow human beings.

  18. This is why this govt. is trying to disarm the American people.This govt. has stripped americans of their values by denouncing religion,throwing away any moral standards,and of course eroding OUR constitutional rights.20 years ago there might have been an uprising about the NSA spying on americans,because americans still had a value system then.Some of us still do.

  19. Robert Myles says:

    I am not an intellectual nor a person who has ever worked for an 'intelligence gathering Agency'. What I do know is that the American people have been violated in the most heinous ways by the Governments of the last 30 to 40 years. The Communist's have changed their name and are part and parcel of the DNC now called the Progressive or liberal movement. Saul Alinsky would be proud of his followers for they have indeed implemented all of his 12 rules for Radical's and essentially now control the Media, the Education process, The Monetary supply, Healthcare and worst of all the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme court. I do know when to call a spade a spade and I see many of them now. We have a president who promised a 'Civilian Army just as strong just as powerful as our Military', That is about the only promise he made that has been kept. Now there is a full out assault on the Bill of Right's and the very Constitution itself. Allowed to succeed there will no longer be a Free America this much I do know. We the People do indeed need to learn to stand up and shout HELL NO WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ABYMORE OF THIS FROM ANYONE!! is that Anarchy? Perhaps, and if it is so be it sometimes you need to get a bigger and badder junkyard dog than the other guy has if you want to win. I do not like the way our country is going and unless We stand up and Change it then we will indeed see anarchy which is a necessity to counter Tyranny. War is War no matter which way it is fought and we are in a war for our very country

  20. The NSA or the love of, has you brainwashed. Things change and political issues also change. As far as proof goes your post proves it indubitably. Snowden disproved your post and yet you condemn him and even want to eliminate him.

  21. The NSA is a government agency and is just that. That means they are for keeping the government in all of its glory, as they would say. But it is not an agency of the people of which the two now seem to be at odds. The government and the people should be at odds unless you are a Communist and want to be enslaved by the government. The NSA is not here to help the people or serve them in any way and that is obvious by what Snowden has shown us. We knew it before but refused to admit it out loud.

  22. bu4848lldurham48 says:

    If the NAS is stronger after this it is only in your mind. Come November the fall of the once great power mongers in Washington is over. Soon people fed up with having someone with their nose up their hind parts will be voting the people who started and fed the monster out of office. Why would any sane government want to record everyones phone calls and text and e-mail messages? It would take a 100 years just to read and sort one year of this mess.Someone just wants the power to do it and then dig out what they want from certain people for their own reasons. It has coming to be that the people are afraid of the government , when it should and will be the government afraid of the people. Even the damn Russians or the Iranians don't go this far at spying on their citizens. Americas government has become so corrupt we are supporting the very people and nations that want to destroy us. America needs a good old fashion rebuild and elimination of all the leaders and people who want to run the Nation for themselves and not the people. Far too many politicians and leaders and business people are getting rich by breaking the law, using illeagl methods to profit and just stealing from the people.. The day is coming soon when the orm will turn and good bye to those who abuse the power and the people of America.

  23. ppanther says:

    Where there are NO CONSEQUENCES for our bad actions, evil prevails. There is no punishment, no justice, no consequences for anyone's bad actions, at least for those at the top who do what they will, like take over Bundy property and run roughshod over the rights of others, without a conscience, for their own greed. That is why God, being the Just God that He is, never took away the consequences of David's actions, though he loved David and his repentance. God forgave David, but David paid the price for his devious actions. If that were not the case, God would not be Just. We are called to be Just and Righteous in His sight, or pay the consequences.

  24. ppanther says:

    Part II
    God showed by this example that there are no favorites, no exceptions to His rules. He loves us, yet He disciplines His own BECAUSE He loves us and wants to save us from further harm by our own, unbridled liberty and free will. We must all live by His rules, or pay the consequences. Many people think that because they don't acknowledge Him or His rules, they are off the hook, so to speak. That is like saying because I don't believe in gravity, I can jump off a ten story building without consequences! Both assumptions are, of course, wrong. We will all pay, sooner or later, and that is why we must learn to respect God and His rules of justice.

  25. Mitchina says:

    Add to this truth one more factor… our gvt has had complete power since FDR and we were just to blind to see it. Now that we do, we no longer control anything with a measly vote. Our votes are pointless, these leaders are known well in advance due to the money and strings the elite manage effortlessly at this point in time. We get nothing done because we have no power to do so. Unless we have a revolution, it cannot happen and even then, martial law will be quickly implemented and we loose again.