Barry Eisler

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Motive, Means, and Opportunity: Why NSA Secrecy Should Worry Us All

Honored to be guest posting today at Freedom of the Press Foundation:

Even if you haven’t studied criminal law, you’ll immediately understand the concept of motive, means, and opportunity.  Motive is you wanted to kill the victim.  Means is you were holding a loaded gun. Opportunity is the victim was standing right in front of you. Without all three, you can’t have a motive-based crime.
When it comes to domestic dissent, the government always has a motive. It’s just human nature to see ourselves as noble and good and our detractors as malignant.  And indeed, the historical evidence for the proposition that governments tend to view dissenters as the enemy is overwhelming: see CointelproProject Minaret; and Project Shamrock for just a few recent historical examples, or the Obama administration’s unprecedented campaign against whistleblowers for something more contemporary. Glenn Greenwald has more in an excerpt from his new book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State (#6 in the Amazon store so far, and it’s only been on sale for a few hours).
So the government will always by virtue of human nature itself have a motive to...
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Blogger Don Bay said...

Your posting is very lawyer-like and hits the target. However, being a cynic (I like to think "realistic") and an old guy, I believe the government will go underground and do what it wants to do anyway regardless of the outcry against its unconstitutional behavior.

Yes, they will go through the motions of giving maybe 10% of what is demanded in the hope that it will placate the critics, but they will continue doing what they are motivated to do anyway. It's a dance without significance. The motive, means and opportunity are all there as before. They will do what they want.

In any case, thanks for your shot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 7:43:00 AM  

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