This is all fine and dandy. Except for a couple of things.
Did Snowden actually use email to complain about illegal activities to management? Or hard copy, or voice? Did the email response he did get to his question as released to the public, mean something to him we're not seeing that Snowden did see in that reply?
The article posts this within it:
"Today’s release is incomplete, and does not include my correspondence with the Signals Intelligence Directorate’s Office of Compliance, which believed that a classified executive order could take precedence over an act of Congress, contradicting what was just published. It also did not include concerns about how indefensible collection activities—such as breaking into the back-haul communications of major US internet companies—are sometimes concealed under EO 12333 to avoid Congressional reporting requirements and regulations. […]
I did raise such concerns both verbally and in writing, and on multiple, continuing occasions — as I have always said, and as NSA has always denied."
He asks why Snowden didn't release those emails along with other things being released to vindicate himself, that he should have thought that out ahead of time and so on. Reasonable questions. But then things like this don't always go smoothly, all the answers aren't always given or freely available and that doesn't simply mean there is something fishy going on. Getting this kind of thing to the public is a very messy, complicated thing.
Do you really think, even if Snowden had properly complained to management in any format that anything would really have changed? In something so big, so endemic within the agency? Something they obviously valued so highly?
Consider this. Should this EVER happen in America? Would or could this ever happen in China, or Russia? Or North Korea? Maybe this, or other such breaches really haven't been that bad for the people of America? Maybe in fact we need them from time to time. It's as if the Founding Fathers themselves had considered such things in setting up free speech and a free press.
"In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the public. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." - Hugo L. Black (1971). New York Times Co. v. United States. Supreme Court of the United States. pp. 403 U.S. 713, at p. 717.
Why would someone with a brain who had knowledge of the agency's inner functionings, even really consider that they could evoke change of this type from the inside, without the need to publicly release information?
It really makes Cesca's article seem pretty naive. Just a journalist's need for a hook to write an article about regardless how useless its commentary may be. But hey, we all gotta make a living. And journalists get paid for writing, not necessarily writing what's useful but engaging the public so they can continue to seem relevant and useful in making money for their organization.
I've seen things in a mere corporation that needed to change before. I said in the beginning of a new proposed project (more than once on more than one project) that it was a bad idea. But no one would listen. Though many would nod their heads silently, also knowing what I said was true but not wanting to stick their heads up to be wacked.
And so it came to be, all because those at the top had a vested interest.
It was going to happen, it did happen. In one case, there was a personal financial interest for the guy at the top and he never got called out on it. Even after he abandoned the company leaving a sinking ship where he created the hole all the money was pouring out of. Eventually the hole was plugged, the ship didn't sink although people now openly will say what a nightmare his reign was.
Years later in this case, after millions of dollars wasted, change did finally happen. Only after he left. But no at first one would listen. It was a waste of time and effort and it left you looking the fool. In speaking out, even after being proven correct, it still could leave you looking untrustworthy in certain career fields.
Like, intelligence. A field which has always been a kind of oxymoron. Between those in the field with the know and those in management with their "know"; so much, so many times, the wrong things are done even though the ones lower down knew very well and wanted things to be different. They could only sit and shake their head in frustration. Such is the bureaucracy and dynamics in government and intelligence.
I'm really not sure Snowden's attempt to tell anyone would have been a smart thing to do.
It would have been the proper thing to do, to be sure, though that has little to do in intelligence with reality. A field of shadows to most people, and one that runs with a grossly different and unspoken set of rules than the rest of us. A field where asking doesn't always get done what needs to be done, where doing what is right and asking permission later, apologizing later if need be, does get the right thing done. Though you'd better be right, do the right thing, make the right people look...right. And if you don't, people can die. You, can die.
I think discussion on it this who thing, whether Snowden spoke out ahead of time or not, as if it could have made any difference at all, is really now a moot point.
It may very well always have been.
And then last Friday, October 16, 2015 there is this....
Edward Snowden: Clinton made 'false claim' about whistleblower protection