(Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino)

How to stop the next Snowden

The government has a plan to stop whistle-blowers. Spy harder!

Andrew Leonard
March 10, 2014 6:34PM (UTC)

Edward Snowden exposed a comprehensive system of government surveillance far in excess of anything authorized or intended by Congress, including massive dragnets of information gathered on U.S. citizens and direct hacking into the telecommunications infrastructure of private companies.

So what's the government response? How about a plan to create an even more comprehensive surveillance system -- directed at government employees!


The AP's Stephen Braun has the story.

U.S. intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials told The Associated Press....

Intelligence officials have long wanted a computerized system that could continuously monitor employees, in part to prevent cases similar to former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden. His disclosures bared secretive U.S. surveillance operations...

Current and former officials familiar with the DNI's planning said the monitoring system will collect records from multiple sources of information about employees. They will use private credit agencies, law enforcement databases and threat lists, military and other government records, licenses, data services and public record repositories. During random spot checks, the system's software will sift through the data to spot unusual behavior patterns.

Brilliant! To prevent the threat of whistle-blowers exposing vast overreach by government spies, the government plans to spy on its own employees even more thoroughly. One is put in mind of the go-to response from authoritarians everywhere, when challenged on grounds of privacy invasion: If you haven't done anything wrong, you should have nothing to worry about.

Perhaps if the government could restrain itself from illegal and excessive abuses of its own power, it wouldn't have to worry about whistle-blowers.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew LeonardFOLLOW koxinga21LIKE Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Edward Snowden Privacy Surveillance Surveillance State

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •