'At the end of the day, it is on us - it is on all of us - what our government does in our name'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2013, 7:05am PT  

On MSNBC's All In Thursday night, Chris Hayes flagged Barbara Starr's Tuesday report at CNN on how, according to unnamed U.S. government intelligence officials who offer some very specific details, terrorists are now, allegedly, changing their habits in the wake of the recent surveillance disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Hayes cites Starr's reporting in order to point out the hypocrisy in how some leaks, those seemingly meant to make the Pentagon look good, are, apparently, perfectly fine in the eyes of many of the very same people who have otherwise criticized --- and even called for the arrest of --- both Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who had the temerity to report on Snowden's leaks.

The point Hayes makes here --- the last one, in particular, about the "vast and growing web of secret government" and our responsibility for "what our government does in our name," as quoted below (along with his full video commentary), is right on the money...

[Starr's] article...cites unnamed anonymous intelligence and administration officials, speaking in very specific terms about the ways in which the American intelligence community is able to observe terrorist groups as they change their communications patterns. It's the kind of information, I would hazard to guess, is almost certainly classified.

One of these unnamed sources, in fact goes so far as to offer an example of exactly the kind of thing the terrorists are doing now in order to avoid detection by U.S. spies.
This article not only self-servingly advanced the narrative that the intelligence community would like us to believe, that the Edward Snowden leaks have helped the terrorists, but in doing so, it could be seen as doing far more to concretely alert terror groups to what the U.S. intelligence community knows about them and their communications than anything published The Guardian or the Washington Post.

And yet, somehow, I have not heard members of Congress calling Barbara Starr's reporting dangerous or pushing for her prosecution the way some did when Glenn Greenwald reported the Edward Snowden leaks.
[Rep.] Peter King [(R-NY), who called for the prosecution of Greenwald], as far as I know, has yet to call for legal action against Barbara Starr, and she's certainly not been the subject of long, detailed hit pieces on her past personal life. Though that is precisely what has happened to Glenn Greenwald who reported on the Edward Snowden leaks.

I want to be very clear here. I do not know what helps or does not help the terrorists. I simply don't. And I am certainly not saying Barbara Starr helped the terrorists by publishing a report. I don't think she did, any more than Glenn Greenwald did. And, more importantly, I don't think the vast majority of people that you see opining on what helps the terrorists have any freaking clue what actually does or doesn't.

But, it is a problem for this country and for the functioning of our democracy when Glenn Greenwald's leaked reporting is treated so differently than the Barbara Starr leak reporting. When, as with Glenn Greenwald's reporting, the leaks are not specifically designed to advance the Pentagon's agenda, then we have shock and controversy and calls for prosecution. But when they are, as with the Barbara Starr reporting, radio silence.

There is a vast and growing web of secret government in this country, and it simply cannot be the case --- it is not acceptable --- that the only things we know about it are the things the members of that secret government want us to know. Because, at the end of the day, it is on us --- it is on all of us --- what our government does in our name.