I, journalist: public enemy number one

The journalists are the problem with global security? Well, if General Keith Alexander had his way they'd all be rounded up and dropped in a deep dark hole. Seems that his frustration has gotten the better of him.

From The Guardian:

The outgoing director of the National Security Agency lashed out at media organizations reporting on Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations, suggesting that British authorities were right to detain David Miranda on terrorism charges and that reporters lack the ability to properly analyze the NSA’s broad surveillance powers.

 

General Keith Alexander, who has furiously denounced the Snowden revelations, said at a Tuesday cybersecurity panel that unspecified “headway” on what he termed “media leaks” was forthcoming in the next several weeks, possibly to include “media leaks legislation.”

 

Wow, now that sounds ominous. It also sounds like Cartman saying, "Screw you guys, I'm going home" then taking his ball and walking out of frame. The NSA got caught with their pants down. They weren't able to control the access to their own data and could not avoid information being leaked by their own staff. So, naturally their incompetence is the fault of the media. 

Wait, what?

The information that Edward Snowden leaked gave the agency, along with many others, a significant black eye. The ramifications of which will be felt for years to come. For the near term we will see a greater push to penalize media organizations, journalists and bloggers who report on the missteps of those who are supposed to be working to protect us, the citizenry. 

The really interesting part of this isn't the fact that there is a push to have legislation to muzzle the media from reporting on the malfeasance of the day. Rather, the part that I'm amazed at is the abject failure on the part of the government to accept responsibility for their own failings. 

Alexander has previously mused about “stopping” journalism related to the Snowden revelations.

 

“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” he told an official Defense Department blog in October.

The disconnect here is terribly frightening. It is "wrong to allow this to go on" he says. Wrong like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"?

Or the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act signed in 2010? That bill's sponsor, Adam Schiff stated, "Freedom of expression cannot exist where journalists are not safe from persecution and attack. Our government must promote freedom of the press by putting on center stage those countries in which journalists are killed, imprisoned, kidnapped, threatened, or censored."

Apparently they need to add "at home as well as abroad". 

(Image used under CC from edmondwong8)

To comment on this article and other CSO content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter stream.
Insider: Hacking the elections: myths and realities
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.