Throughout the last several posts I have been trying to figure out my opinion in regards to leaking classified information. I was not sure if the costs outweighed the benefits of if the benefits outweighed the cost until I read The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright. The book goes into detail about why Middle Eastern specifically Muslims that live in the Middle East, often depict Americans negatively. It goes into detail and explains the connection between the hatred of Americans and the events that led up until 9/11. The book talks about the wide time span between the terrorist educating themselves and also planning the attack on American soil. It goes into depth to explain the culture, training, and studying that ensued before the attack. Al-Qaeda had so much time and resources dedicated to this plan that they sent people to America in order to begin pilot lessons. They simply made sure that all of the information that they needed to carry out this attack could happen smoothly. One of the biggest criticisms about 9/11 is how Al-Qaeda handled information compared to the American government.
Americans had two major issues when thinking about information. The first issues is that American’s knew almost nothing about Al-Qaeda because they did not think they were an actually threat. The second issue that Americans had in terms of information and 9/11 was the fact that many government agencies were not able to communicate properly. For example, The CIA was aware that two people that were a risk to American safety were in America, but they failed to share that information with the FBI. Intelligence organizations are often protective of their information because they are not always confident that other agencies will handle the information the way that they want. This again brings us back to classified information and benefits outweigh the cost of vice versa. If government organizations felt more comfortable sharing information then the events that occurred on September 11th, in 2001 could have been stopped. Edward Snowden has impacted our national security in a horrendous way because he was able to access and share information that was supposed to be kept secret. In doing this he has made agencies even more protective then they already are, for fear that other organizations may have a leaker in their office. In Journalism after Snowden, the authors say that “making secret data harder to share also makes it harder to use and thus less valuable” (Bell, Owen, 163). After reading this quote and the book mentioned earlier its clear that our intelligence agencies must have the privacy that they demand in order to ensure our safety. This also means that Snowden did not just share a vital piece of information, but when he released the documents he told the world that America is still trying to figure out how to conduct its services in regards to national security. This inevitable makes America a target.