From Dissident Gold to Imperial Dross: The Neutering of the NSA Archives

1. Clancy Lives!

Take heart, you fans of slam-bang super-spy adventure stories! Tom Clancy is not dead; he lives on in the pages of the Washington Post, channeled through the airport-thriller prose of Barton Gellman -- one of the small coterie of media custodians doling out dollops from the huge archive of secret NSA documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Drawing on that archive of what should be shocking, empire-undermining revelations, Gellman and his co-authors last week penned a story that is, in almost every respect, a glorification of state-ordered murder: a rousing tale of secret ops in exotic lands, awesome high-tech spy gear, flying missiles, deadly explosions, and dogged agents doing the grim but noble work of keeping us safe. No doubt Hollywood is already on the horn: it's boffo box office!

The story describes how the NSA's determined leg-work helped Barack Obama shred the sovereignty of a US ally in order to kill a man -- in the usual cowardly fashion, by long-distance, remote-control missile -- without the slightest pretense of judicial process. It's really cool! Just watch our boys in action:

In the search for targets, the NSA has draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan. In Ghul’s case, the agency deployed an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools, secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages, and tracking radio transmissions to determine where Ghul might “bed down.” …


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