The Trouble with Low Standards

Since Edward Snowden has admitted leaking highly classified information about the government’s data mining, many have wondered how this twenty-nine-year-old employee of Booz Allen Hamilton was able to get such a high security clearance, one that allowed him to gain privileged access to this nation’s most sensitive secrets in the three months he worked for the defense contractor. They point out that Snowden is a high-school dropout who washed out of the Army in less than five months without completing any training. If it turns out that Snowden, by virtue of his background, should not have been given access to material, those responsible for allowing him to do so should also be held accountable.

The Snowden disclosure of course comes as another famous leaker, Army PFC Bradley Manning, is being tried for espionage at Fort Meade, Maryland. There’s some indication that Snowden sees himself as a fellow traveler of Manning; he has described the private as “a classic whistle-blower” who was “inspired by the public good.”

The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.