25 February 2014 — WashingtonsBlog
Do People Like This Sound Like The Kinds Of People You Can “Trust” To Not Abuse Their Power?
Glenn Greenwald writes today:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and former CIA/NSA chief Mike Hayden “joked” at a hearing that Snowden should be put on the U.S. government’s “hit list” and murdered. Last month, BuzzFeed quoted several anonymous Pentagon and intelligence community officials as they laid out their fantasies for how they would like to murder Snowden (“Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower”). Former CIA chief James Woolsey said “he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead” if convicted of treason, while former UN Ambassador John Bolton revealed an even more detailed fantasy: “My view is that Snowden committed treason, he ought to be convicted of that, and then he ought to swing from a tall oak tree.”
Not only does this underscore the warped pathologies among the glorious leaders of America’s National Security State, but it also highlights the inanity of believing that these kinds of people can and should be trusted with invasive spying powers to be exercised in the dark.
Similarly, Tech Dirt noted last month:
While it may be understandable that those still on the inside of the intelligence community and the military have this emotional reaction to Ed Snowden, it actually helps to demonstrate exactly why the NSA cannot be trusted. NSA officials like to talk about all of the training everyone in the intelligence community has, and how it’s “in their DNA” to protect the Constitution and the American way …. And yet… here are lots of those very same insiders who clearly are overcome with an emotional, rather than logical, response to the situation. They appear to have no problem tossing aside ideals like freedom, due process — or even the 4th Amendment which Snowden was trying to restore support for. And instead of all that: they just want blood. They want to kill. They don’t want a trial.
Do people like that sound like the kinds of people you can “trust” to not abuse their power? Do they sound like people you can “trust” to not spy on people they don’t like? They’ve already admitted that they’re willing to kill someone they don’t like just because they don’t like him. [They will certainly use information gleaned through spying to blackmail, smear and discredit people they take dislike.]
The article is chilling not just because of what these employees of the American public are openly discussing doing to someone who sought to inform the American public — but because it shows the lengths they will go to to trample the American ideal and the Constitution, which they took an oath to uphold. They are directly admitting that all of that, all logic, all reason goes right out the window when someone pisses them off.
And that’s the very reason why the NSA needs to be reined in. The people working there seem to be bloodthirsty and emotional, prone to lashing out and dismissing the very basis of the Constitution. After hearing those statements, I don’t see how anyone in the NSA can possibly claim that the American public can “trust” them not to abuse the system. They appear bloodthirsty and eager to abuse the system.