Evan Osnos on John Chiang’s refusal to accept an order by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
When I asked him what lesson he takes from his refusal to obey the orders of the executive, he said, “I think, always, you look deep into your conscience and then you move from there. People have a sense of why they serve.” He added, “At times, we will prevail; at times, we will fail. But to stand and watch idly and do nothing—I think people will regret if things go along and they didn’t offer up their very best.
And from the Hacker News discussion, Julian Assange’s central thesis:
The non linear effects of leaks on unjust systems of governance
The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.
If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.
Peter Maass: Why did you seek out Laura and Glenn, rather than journalists from major American news outlets (N.Y.T., W.P., W.S.J. etc.)? In particular, why Laura, a documentary filmmaker?
Edward Snowden: After 9⁄11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism.
From the State’s point of view, he’s committed a crime. From his point of view, and the view of many others, he has sacrificed for the greater good because he knows people have the right to know what the government is doing in their name. And legal, or not, he saw what the government was doing as a crime against the people and our rights.