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Why I Don’t Leak Secrets - Rhino Den | Military Stories, MMA News, Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy


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Now, the government can’t be entirely sure of its most trusted citizens and to me that is frightening. I believe the result will almost certainly be an increase in ‘compartmentalization’ of intelligence. Each program, SIGINT, HUMINT or otherwise, and the resulting intelligence will be restricted to smaller and smaller groups of highly vetted individuals. This will certainly help prevent leaks, but it is also a gradual return to pre-9/11 intelligence practices in the US Intelligence Community, where one agency’s information is only selectively and rarely shared with other agencies. We called it ‘stove-piping,’ the left hand not talking to the right, not ‘connecting the dots,’ and the practice was identified in the 9/11 Commission’s report as one of the reasons we were vulnerable that September morning.

The consequences of the Manning and Snowden leaks, then, will be to encourage the U.S. government to become more paranoid and insular, resulting in a weakening of America’s defenses.

Perhaps not a complete collapse, which is what Julian Assange wants, but certainly a more vulnerable nation.

Was weakening the United States the goal of Manning and Snowden? Not according to their public statements, they each claim a crisis of conscience. That their moral outrage forced their hands.

There may be an underlying societal explanation for Snowden’s and Manning’s actions, beyond their claimed moral outrage. Perhaps they’re neither whistle blowers nor traitors, but the alternative could be even more dangerous for the US government and the future of our free society.

Noted author Charlie Stross wrote an excellent article  earlier this year discussing the generational break that has occurred in America. He states, “In the 21st century, the NSA (and other espionage agencies) face a big system-wide problem that I haven’t seen anybody talking about. The problem is sociological, and it’s going to get worse.”

Stross describes the problem as one of employment expectations of the younger generations. Stross contends, simply put, that they have no expectation they’ll work for the same employer for the long-term, therefore they have no loyalty to any employer. I believe this mentality translates to young federal employees, including military service members like Manning and Snowden, who find themselves with no particular loyalty to their government employer.

I agree with Stross, but I think the generational break goes deeper than just changing employment expectations. Manning and Snowden represent Generations X and Y, citizens raised with few loyalties to anyone aside from themselves. They are sincere in their conscience and confident in the righteousness of their judgments, despite their lack of experience or knowledge, and therefore have no compunction against betraying their oaths to the Constitution. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

If Stross is correct, the U.S. government is now facing a future of generations filled with Mannings and Snowdens, citizens with no loyalty to anything but the

whims of their own consciences. This possibility means there will be fewer and fewer citizens it can trust to safeguard the rest of the American people.

So here it is.

I don’t leak secrets, first, because I’m loyal to my oaths. Second, I don’t want to send our country to a pre-9/11 intelligence system, unprepared for attacks. Lastly, I know that the government is a dangerous beast, and I see no reason to make a dangerous animal more paranoid than it already is. I don’t leak secrets because I don’t trust the government not to overreact to damaging leaks, potentially resulting in worse offenses than ever were leaked or, in a worst-case scenario, completely implode like Assange and his cohorts would wish.

My advice to potential leakers is simple: work to change the system from within and vote your conscience, elect leaders who are willing to change the system. Or better yet, run for office yourself if you’re so convinced the system is flawed and change it yourself.

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