Confessions of an NSA apologist

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I write neither to bury the National Security Agency nor fetishize the national security state, but rather, to explain, to myself, what facts on the ground inspire the motivations and influence the judgment of people with extraordinary power. For this, for not automatically condescending to believe that a large federal surveillance regime is intrinsically incompatible with a functional representative democracy, I am dismissed by a bunch of others who write about this subject as an apologist.

It's a word meant to wound. An apologist cuts himself off from the direction of history. He stands against progress. He is a distraction at best and an enabler of savagery at worst. I can't reclaim the word, and I know enough to know that if you've taken the time to conclude that I'm an NSA apologist, I cannot dissuade you of that belief.

However.

Many readers of The Week and other publications are more open-minded, and to you, I want to put forth a different interpretation. It's not a defense; it's a way of understanding why I write about the NSA without moving to a higher octave. (OCTAVE happens to be the name of an NSA database; no pun intended). The truth is that my theory of what's happening, of what this all means, of how much this all should worry you, of all of these things, is not set. It is malleable. It may not actually exist. I don't know what I believe, but I know what I don't:

I don't believe America is on the edge of fascism.

I don't believe that there is no relevant moral and practical distinction..

Read more: http://theweek.com/article/index/256515/confessions-of-an-nsa-apologist