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What if the NSA scandals result in a more fragmented global Internet? What if they are used as an excuse by repressive regimes to violate their own citizens’ privacy? What if they are used as an excuse to deny U.S. companies access to markets? What if they are used as an excuse to justify similar actions against the United States?
Those aren’t arbitrary questions. All those things not only might happen — they will. They are the direct result of America’s intelligence overreach, of mistakes in judgment by senior White House and intelligence community decisionmakers … and of the enabling atmosphere provided by the pliant, arch, unquestioning attitudes of the faux-hard-boiled wonks who to this day are helping to impede the kind of real reassessment of priorities, methods, and means the U.S. intelligence community so urgently needs.
David Rothkopf is CEO and editor at large of Foreign Policy. He is the author of “Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power.”
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.