Few Americans have experienced the adrenaline charge of being in the secret world of U.S. intelligence. Gathering intelligence does provide a higher level of safety for Americans than would be the case if it did not occur.
For several years, I traveled weekly to the bowels of the Pentagon. I worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which required a high-level security clearance that can take up to a year to receive. The NSA contractor whose leak of top-secret documents exposed U.S. government surveillance jeopardized U.S intelligence-gathering efforts that can take years.
In the DIA, we were warned about the importance of keeping what we knew, what we did and who we did it for top-secret. Remember when our country was searching for Idi Amin? We gained from gathering information many facts about this dictator, but dared not leak that information.
Since then, the U.S. has captured and/or caused the demise of many dictators and terrorists, all through intelligence-gathering, not intelligence-leaking. When I read about the leaks in the NSA, under the guise of “it's Americans who should decide what level of privacy is appropriate,” that's just not 21st-century intelligence.
As Americans, you should know your government does not care about whom you talk to via phone, text, tweet, Skype or Facebook. The secret world of U.S. intelligence makes us safer because of, and in spite of, what goes on there.
So, the next time you get concerned about who's listening in or monitoring your social-media exploits, just reply, “Thanks for being there.” They've been there well before now, so keep on using social media. It's OK!
Howard B. Slaughter Jr.
The writer is a Navy and Army Reserve veteran.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.