The Washington Post reports: Americans increasingly believe that former federal contractor Edward Snowden’s exposure of U.S. surveillance programs damaged national security, even as the programs have sparked widespread privacy concerns, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found.
Six in 10 Americans — 60 percent — say Snowden’s actions harmed U.S. security, increasing 11 percentage points from July after a cascade of news reports based on his disclosures detailed the National Security Agency’s expansive web of telephone and Internet surveillance efforts. Clear majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe disclosures have harmed national security.
Langer Research has a more insightful poll showing a clear difference between older and younger generations which makes perfect sense to me:
As far back as I can remember (the McCarthy era), Americans have been bludgeoned into submission by the politics of fear. If it’s not communism, it’s the Black Power movement. If not the blacks, It’s the hippies and the feminazis. Now it’s the Islamofascists and Muslims in general. On deck are the Chinese, whose only motive for modernizing is to destroy America. Until recently, this fearmongering was done quite skillfully by delivering it along with liberal doses of jingoism. Is it then any wonder that it’s the older generations that embrace total secret surveillance and want to see Snowden publicly burnt at the stake?
The younger generations don’t get their news from CNN or Fox. Tech savvy, they can surf it out at Firedoglake, Emptywheel, and EFF — not to mention The Guardian, which their parents and grandparents wouldn’t touch for fear of contracting a social(ist) disease. The consequences of total surveillance are almost certainly experienced by them as very personal, given the extent of their online lives, while for their elders, surveillance is experienced abstractly (so far).