New York Riesling Diary: Day 6 – Dear NSA, Dear GCHQ (Part 1 – An Invitation)

Dear General Keith Alexander (Director of NSA),

Dear James Clapper (National Director of Intelligence),

Dear Sir Lain Lobban (Director of GCHQ),

Listen up, because here comes something exciting, positive and new! Along with a large part of the world’s population I’ve been closely following the story of Edward Snowden’s revelations as passed to the media by Glenn Greenwald. I studied the results of additional research into your surveillance activities by my colleagues at various major newspapers and internet news sites with equal dismay. Like them I belong to what former Vice President Dick Cheney very accurately called the reality-based community. Welcome to our nightmare!

Unlike you, we don’t subscribe to the doctrine that digital might is right, and we regard with horror the way you use your international co-operation to circumvent the national laws designed to prevent you from eroding the human rights of your own citizens. We reject your utterly amoral drive for a global hegemony of information that threatens to make our profession redundant, and to remove from words like liberty, democracy and justice their last vestiges of meaning. However, as you have been painfully realizing, our position is stronger than all your monitoring and analysis led you to believe.      

In spite of the obvious tensions between us, I feel that a radical step is called for, and that’s the reason I write. You have, of course, been monitoring my communications without asking for my permission to do so. Clearly that’s not something someone like me can really agree to. However, I hereby INVITE YOU to read, watch and listen in to my communications of all kinds, and assure you that whatever you read, see or hear will not result in your prosecution in a court of law in the US where I am currently staying, nor in the Germany where I am a permanent resident, nor yet in the Great Britain from where I originate and am still a national. As far as I know this is much more than anyone else has offered. In fact, I don’t remember hearing of anyone offering you anything at all lately. Instead, there was a lot of outrage, widespread deep disappointment and some embarrassment. It strikes me that generosity is almost as fundamental as compassion, both belong to the most positive side of human nature, and this leads me to offer you the hand of friendship in what are for you dark days.

There is, however, an element of self-interest in this act. You see, as a journalist finding out the truth (I think that you understand what I mean, even if you give it another name) is one side of my work, and the other is making it public (I think you’re now familiar with the process). For that I need readers, and most of your operatives belong to my target audience (I think that you understand at least the word “target” if not “audience”). When I was a young man at the beginning of my journalistic career you were also part of my target audience, but the number of your employees was rather small compared with what it is today. The post-9/11 digital intelligence boom not only increased your importance and your budgets, it also expanded the number or operatives you employee to around 35,000. So, you see I need you guys and this is a way of grabbing your attention.

Best regards from you know where,

Stuart Pigott

PS more post will follow soon!


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