Francis Bacon said ‘Knowledge is Power’ and I think the current ‘spy scandal’ proves him right.
See, people get power by hoarding information: they ‘steal’ yours (spying) while hiding theirs (secrets)… when my country does it to yours, it’s intelligence. When you do it to us, it’s a betrayal of our friendship, possibly an act of war.
But when hypocrites start arguing, I tend to tune out. Especially if the outrage is fake.
The problem isn’t that one nation now knows they were being spied on by another; it’s that now everybody knows, and it makes both sides look bad. So what has been mutually accepted in private must be loudly denounced in public; it’s political theatre, staged for public consumption. Sooner or later a deal will be reached, both sides will spin it to their advantage.
But there are those with a different take on the whole ‘Knowledge = Power’ equation: they believe power should be distributed, and the best way to do that is to leak the kind of information that those with power do not want us to know: in other words, the truth.
And how do they do that? By stealing secrets.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (whose leaks started this current drama) is merely the latest in a long line of ‘citizen spies’ stretching back to people like Julian Assange, Deep Throat and the legendary Daniel Ellsberg, who stole secrets from the Pentagon, revealed the truth about the Vietnam War and triggered the Watergate scandal.
Love them or hate them, people like that are the only reason the truth ever gets out… at all.
And that’s the really big secret.
Pass it on.