Sunday, June 30, 2013

Poetic Justice, Surely

For all the aghast concerning the acts of Edward Snowden, the following piece should bring us back to the real world:

The example of pre-World War II Japan/US relations is excellent. Indeed, what would anyone charged with the job of figuring out what potentially hostile countries or stateless entities are doing do, as a matter of simply the logical requirements of their charge.

And that simple logic, obvious to anyone who simply imagines being in the shoes of the intelligence community, which would include of course Mr. Putin, an ex-KGB man, surely presents the absolute certainty that at this moment Mr. Snowden is being interrogated with significant intensity by the Russians. And of course the Russians would smile and deny any such thing. As would we, in both instances.

It is possible that we will never see or hear of Mr. Snowden again.

It is certain that even as we speak, our vast intelligence enterprise is furiously back-engineering its myriad projects to protect them, as best they can, from whatever Mr. Snowden might be now revealing.

John LeCarre has made all of this obvious quite some decades back. Carol Reed made it obvious even further back. Possibly Dostoyevsky made relevant advances in the details of this logical structure, not to mention Niccolo Machiavelli.

Is the most pertinent question, then, How the hell did Mr. Snowden get such a string of advanced jobs? Has the divide between mere technical expertise become so great that all the upper level supervision in American intelligence work finds itself so entirely ignorant of the technical understanding of the machines and programs that do the work they devise, that they are able only to hire out the maintenance and repair of the machines and programs to people they are unable to vet properly?

We seem to be arriving into a place like that of religion in the middle ages, where an elite discoursed in Latin about religious matters, and the congregations had no idea what they were saying. Me Pops spent his life arguing with some success at a technical university, that the technicians they were training needed a broader view. He wanted the engineering students, and the programmers, to take the time to read Dostoyevsky, Machiavelli, and yes, probably LeCarre. Ah,those were the days, when the man who invented the atomic bomb could, upon watching its ignition, quote the Bhagavad Gita.

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