Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I Am So Upset With The Major Dailies

Note: Blogging seems to be broken over at Townhall, it flags this post as "inappropriate" and I have no idea why. I have sent them email, maybe they will fix it.

EUREKA! I have finally been able to put my finger on exactly what has me so upset about the leaks of intelligence information in many of our major daily newspapers. I was aware that the reporting upset me and I could think of a lot of reasons why I should be upset such as the fact that it could put me and my family at risk, but none of those reasons exactly hit the root of why I was so angry. It wasn't until I logged into my online banking today that it dawned on me what it was. I feel personally violated by these exposures in the paper.

I live in a republic and as such we have people elected and appointed to act as our agents in the conduct of the business required to run a nation. As a mature and hopefully well-adjusted person, I am aware that I am placing my trust in these people to act in my stead and that some of those matters must remain secret just as I keep secret the passwords to my banking and the bank keeps secret certain measures they take on my behalf in order to keep my account safe from unauthorized use. In the case of the government, I am placing my trust in them to find people who would harm my family or members of my community and disrupt their plans or bring them to justice. These measures must remain a secret if they are to succeed. I do not have any desire or need to know exactly what they are doing at any given moment. In fact, if I am aware of what they are doing, then I consider something to be severely broken.

The people performing these operations on my behalf operate within a set of rules and have people who oversee them to make sure they stay within those limits. If they are operating within the limits, have not abused the trust placed in them, and have been successful, then all is well and there is nothing to report. These people are by proxy an extension of me. They are protecting my security. When the New York Times or some other major newspaper exposes one of these programs simply because it was secret, it is akin to exposing my bank's security measures just because they are secret. I then feel that my security has been violated, I feel more vulnerable, and those two things cause me to become angry.

What these papers have done in these exposures is to, in effect, violate the security of all Americans. How would Mr. Lichtblau or Mr. Keller feel if I wrote a piece telling everyone about the security measures that their banks use? What if I published the procedures used to access accounts, which computers were used for what purpose, where they were located, what operating systems they used and how they were interconnected to each other? What if they had installed protective measures because of past cases of fraud, theft, or other misuse and I had information about the safeguards that the bank used. What if they asked me not to publish this information because it could cause them to lose the ability to spot fraud or misuse of the system if I exposed it? What if I then exposed it anyway because I thought Mr. Lichtblau or Mr. Keller should know because banking is very important and they should know everything that goes on.

Mr Keller and Mr Lichtblau might be a little worried that their bank was more vulnerable now to abuse. And they might be angry with me if their accounts had been the victim of extremely serious misuse in the past. America's "security account" was seriously abused on 9/11 and the UK's on 7/7 and now India's on 7/11. Keller and Lichtblau have not only violated the security of every American, they have violated the security of people across the globe. They have put the people of Spain, and Bali, and Australia, and India, and the UK, and Germany and France at greater risk of attack by people who want to blow us to tiny bits and have more than once and probably will again in the future.

For this, my anger is beyond political rhetoric. It has nothing to do with a right/left political battle of ideals. It is a matter of basic public safety. These newspapers are a very real threat to the security of civilized nations around the world and it simply must stop. That they attack my government (yes, when someone tampers with my security, I regard that as an attack) when they are engaged in a legal method of protecting me, they violate my personal security. They are a direct personal threat to me and that causes an instinctive response in return.

Mr. Keller, Mr. Lichtblau, publishers, editors, and journalists across this country, I ask you please in the name of basic common human decency to please stop exposing our security measures. In fact, I would go as far as to ask you to report anyone attempting to leak this information to you because those people are trying to hurt you too. They are a threat to you and your community. From one human being to another human being, please don't kill my kids.

Thank you.


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