These are my commentaries on an interview with Peter King about the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.
2:54: Do you think the leaks have really damaged our national security, because of this?
- If we are letting the enemy know what we are looking at and how we are looking at it and the way it's done, yes absolutely.
This means absolutely nothing to the national security of the USA, because the whole world already suspected that the USA is doing this. The only thing missing was clear evidence.
3:09: But when you lay out your whole gameplan, having layed out for them to look at, it has to help them. It really does.
No matter what the USA comes up with in terms of surveillance, it's easy to bypass the surveillance by means of encryption. Or even more simple, don't use e-mail or the phone at all. Simply visit each other when making terrorist plans. Many terrorists are well educated people, who also know this. And since the whole world was already suspecting the USA is doing things like the PRISM program, revealing it doesn't really help the terrorists.
4:25: Anyone who talks about the invasion of privacy, think about what those charred bodies will look like.
This is an misleading way of justifying the surveillance. Come up with a horror story, present your privacy invading measures and then abuse the fact that nobody will say 'yes' to the horror story to justify your measures. Because a measure helps prevent the horror story in some way, it doesn't mean it's justified to use it. Water puts out fire. But having a house on fire doesn't justify flooding the entire residential area. A measure that does more harm than good is not a good measure.
What happened in Boston proofs that the surveillance program isn't working. But more important is the effect the attack had on America: almost none. America moved on. And that's good, because the 5 deaths and few hundred injuries are of course terrible, but people die every day. They die from car accidents, smoking, junk food and dangerous activities. But in the end, it's all the same. Dead is dead.
Dying from a car accident is still terrible, but we all accept it as a threat that comes with our way of life. I'm not trying to say that we should accept terrorism, only that we should not try to overreact. Trying to catch one fish by dragging a fishing net across the entire ocean is not the right way to do it, because it brings more harm than good. It works the same for the PRISM surveillance program. It does more damage to the trust people have in their government and the rest of the world has in America than it helps fight terrorism.