Anthonyn Cordesman on Edward Snowden

With all the debate on hi end reviewers, I think it's pretty impressive to see Anthony Cordesman quoted, in the text below this video:
Anthony Cordesman is an renowed expert on foreign policy issues that just so happens to be an audiophile. He was frequently seen on TV as an analyist during the "Desert Storm" operation.
I've heard/seen Cordesman speak but never made the connection. Looks like audiophiles come from all walks of life (and why not!).

I think he may be right as this all seems to turn around the issue of Snowden and not the fact that all of this is outsourced to unaccountable private players with lousy screening levels, which is what we should be talking about. Not too long ago 3 private contractors with access to this kind of info conspired with the Chamber of Commerce to spy on Americans who didn't like the way business is being conducted.

The cat's been out of the bag for some time now. What interesting times we live in.

All the best,
I didn't know that about Anthony...
The CIA and our other intelligence agencies have budgets so large they are ashamed to make them public, yet that traitorous piece of filth still breathes.

I can remember when they could change governments around the world. Now they are impotent in the face of this foul creature. Given time, our foreign controlled media will make him a hero.

An 'audiophile' having a part in foreign policy is scary!!

Interesting times indeed!!

A company named 'USIS' has a contract to do background investigations of people who have applied for jobs that require a top-secret security clearance. I believe that USIS performed the security investigation on Snowden. However, USIS itself has been under investigation for doing shoddy work, cutting corners, etc. So, Snowden slipped through the cracks -- he never should have been given a top-secret clearance.

Heads will roll. I would not want to be the CEO of USIS right now.

Please can we knock off the political commenary? Especially the knee jerk, mouth-foaming, "patriotic" variety? Thanks.
He wrote for Audio magazine before they folded over 20 years ago. He was a big solid solid state (Class'a)and digital fan. He was the bigger is better type of guy!
What is so freakin "political" about the comments?


How's that?
He also contributed to Stereophile during the 80's prior to Absolute Sound. His interest towards larger full range systems I would believe relates to his seeming interest in symphonic and large scale classical music. He always was a big proponent of Vandersteen and Thiel designs.
The guy "should be shot" for exposing a government illegally eavesdropping on its citizens?

Snowden is a hero.
Thanks Zenblaster I was trying to avoid picking a fight, but your thoughts certainly echo my own.
I'll skip the politics! Cordesman put Adcom on the map with his poetic waxing. I always wondered if he was compensated by Adcom or couldn't hear above 5khz(lol)? To my ears David Hafler amps were the best sounding budget amps from that time period(mid-late 80's)NOT Adcom.
Politics have no place on here, unless saying the German lands have produced the greatest music of course.
There's an awful saying that Germans make great wars and great bear, only to lose wars and have beer bellies. As for their music, one only has to look at Quadro Nuevo to know that classically trained musicians make the best musicians.

All the best,
I really don't have an opinion one way or another regarding this guy since I'm not sure all the information he may have leaked is out there. So far as letting Americans know about what the government is doing with their phone records and high officials blatantly lying to Congress regarding that issue. Well all I can ask, is THAT ok?

I agree, this is not a political forum and if it was we still live under the constitutional right of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, let the courts decide on what laws he may have broken. If he truly believes what he did was right in the interest of country and principle, he should come home and face the music. He so far is not demonstrating any "moral high ground" to me, hiding out with the likes of a despicable character like Putin who little doubt is putting the squeeze on him. This kid is in playing in a league WAY over his head.
I'm reminded of Dr Johnson's remark that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," not to mention General Washington's: "I can hear the charming sound of bullets."
Government work, very well paying, has supported Anthony his entire life. I am sure it made him a better reviewer.
I know Cordesman used Thiel 7.2 speakers at one time and I use them now, so much for shared audio history. If Snowden hadn't revealed the information then we continue living under the naive presumption of constitutional protection of our privacy. At least now a national debate can/might ensue. I have no idea if Cordesman is a neo-liberal hawk or an audiophile of a different stripe. Working for the CSSI makes me wonder though.
Snowden is a hero.
Not sure how you can say that without weighing the degree to which privacy has been compromised against the number of innocent American lives that the surveillance programs he disclosed may have saved.

It seems reasonable to speculate that the programs prevented at least one attack that would have cost at least one American life. If saving that one life is not worth some degree of compromised privacy, how many would be? Ten, 100, 1000, 10000?

I don't see how Snowden can be declared to be a hero without that balance being drawn. And to me, the likelihood that at least one life was saved is sufficient justification for the programs, and Snowden is no hero.

This will be my only post in this thread.

-- Al
Once again our eyes are off the ball. Snowden is a side story. He is one of several, recent whistleblowers that have come forward. As far back as the Viet Nam war, our RP-2E (a variant of the P-2 Neptune) scooped all electronic info, in country, in ONE pass. We also had an office in France that scooped all communications from Europe to America and this was over 50 years ago.

Despite our advances in cable, doesn't anyone here remember how implementation lagged behind the rest of the world because the NSA needed time to figure out how to spy on the network?

I have no qualms about what is done for our security. Look at what we allow of ourselves to be displayed on Facebook and other ridiculous sites. We are an open society that has yet to mature at the level that technology sets the pace.

Accountability is the issue here. Private, for profit companies don't have the inherent patriotism that government does and yet it's these private companies that have the highest clearances and lowest standards as the Snowden affair has demonstrated.

There is recourse when government messes up but next to none when private companies do. They'll simply reorganize and get another contract. Some of these companies have already been caught using our private info for non security purposes (marketing, selling of our info, etc.) and no one complains. In addition, they are soaking us (the taxpayers) by inflating the cost of their services compared to what the government charges.

Snowden admits to intentionally going to Booz Allen to get info he had no right to have access to, among other things. Structurally, we're screwed until better screening practices and standards of operations are put in place.

All the best,
He should be shot asap!!
He's small potatoes. I can think of lots of people who've committed greater crimes and enjoy a celebrity status.

All the best,
Seems as if our 'hero' is having trouble finding a rock to ooze under.

And for all you shallow thinkers, remember this, people will die as a result of what he did.

Anthony Cordesman is a fine audio reviewer and a knowlegable foreign policy expert. Snowden has set us back so badly with his disclosures that it cannot be calculated. I consider myself to be a fairly liberal thinker and one who treasures the right of privacy that our justices have found in the Constitution. But I, like many, have no problem with our government obtaining massive amounts of meta data so that, when needed, it can be accessed to connect the dots of terrorist aspirants. I mean, isn't the defense of the country through use of available digital data a no brainer in modern society?
Snowden is a grandstanding joker who should be brought to justice and jailed.
Do you people that support the government illegally mining your private conversations and information remember J Edgar Hoover? McCarthy? What governments have done under the paradigm of "the greater good" has been pretty scary in the past.
Jingoism is a slippery slope.
Regardless of the motives or character of Snowden he has done the public a great service. In order for the nation to function as a democracy the citizenship must be informed of what the government and other power centers are doing.

Traditionally law enforcement would only investigate someone if there was reasonable suspicion or knowledge that a person was engaged in illegal activity. That is no longer the case and it represents a fundamental change in law enforcement strategy. Now simply having your picture taken for a state issued drivers license puts you into a facial recognition searchable database used by law enforcement for whatever purpose they deem appropriate.

Technology and tactics have made it easier for law enforcement to detect criminal activity and that may well further the common defence and promote the general welfare, but in that same sentence the Constitution also
specifies that the role of government is to secure liberty to ourselves and our offspring. If you take away liberty are you really promoting the general welfare? It's a question well worth a public discussion.

Remember, a policeman's job is only easy in a police state.
Folks, as an attorney, I am somewhat familiar with the US Constitution, particularly the 4th Amendment. It pains me greatly that our country has found it necessary to resort to the intrusive actions that it has taken.

But, in times of war and national emergency, there is precedent for extreme actions. For example, Abraham Lincoln suspended many constitutional protections such as habeus corpus during the Civil War. I'm sure most recall some of the actions, and admittedly excesses, that occurred during WWII.

Now let's balance all of that with current events. Like it or not, our country is the target of fanatical religious anarchists who HAVE caused us great harm on a massive level. Do I have to remind anyone about 9/11 or the recent Boston bombings.

I suggest that you rent a somewhat dated movie called "The Peacemakers," starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Watch the movie and please come back with comments about whether the government has exceeded reasonable bounds of intrusive activity.

G-d Bless America and Happy July 4th.
Jond, Zenblaster and Onhwy61, you guys got it right.
Dear Bifwynne,
Taking into consideration the handicaps of your occupation I will keep it simple and to the point.
I hope you have better support for your legal arguments than b-rate Cold War flick. Even the Russians wouldn't have driven around with hot warheads on the back of a pick-up truck.
Any threat requires an assessment to determine the real risk. The fact is we have lost a very small number of people to terrorism. We have lost considerably more in our reaction to this very small threat by going to war for 10 years. This has been a gross over reaction to a perceived threat. During that same 10 year period 6 million people have died from heart disease, 6 million from cancer, 1.5 million from respiratory disease, 1 million from accidents.
I haven't even addressed murders.
This "war on terror" can only be supported with a nice Hollywood production, because the facts sure don't add up.

If the U.S. Government wants to use undercover intelligence to cure heart disease or cancer or any of a hundred other things that are killing our citizens, I will let them put cameras and mikes throughout my home.

I do not want to give up ONE of our precious liberties that thousands of our people HAVE died for unless the threat is extraordinary and legitimate.
Factually speaking, your chances of dying at the hands of a terrorist are less than being hit by lightning.

We should all be vigilant protectors of every last liberty that our past generations defended with there lives.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day
God Bless America
Zen...., of course I agree with what you say in principle. 100%. Nevertheless, I believe the risk that a looney group getting its hands on a WMD and using it is NOT just the stuff of Hollywood B-movies. We have 9/11 to prove that. But of course, I hope you are right. I really do.
In the meantime, how about paying attention to legitimate diplomatic effort and taking preemptive action when warranted and seriously kicking ass when needed! That Boston tragedy was just that and shouldn't have happened. What the hell kind of diplomacy is preventing the US Gov. from acting on tips and info it receives from friendly nations whether they're allies or not? Problem is there's too many free agents out there in positions to exercise their own agendas. Like it or not, we're now actually living in a 'global' community. It's now 'us' against them. Call me a theorist but I don't believe for one second that Britain and Germany are unaware of the US' clandestine operations. We need them as much as they need us.
Our envious foreign policy has led us to most hated nation on the planet status. The only countries that tolerate the U.S. are on the payroll. It's like the Yankees finishing last every year. Do you think it might be time for a change in direction?
100 years of exploiting the planet through sheer tyranny. The billions of dollars we send in aid gets stuffed in some Saudi kings vault or a straw presidents pocket. Very little gets to the streets. Make no mistake people around the world hate us. Just look at Egypt, we have never been more reviled there.
Zenblaster - It is common knowledge that everyone else hates us because they hate our freedom. Or that's the meme conveyed by the corporate press. I'm more inclined to agree with you in your assertion that they hate us for meddling in their politics and stealing their natural resources.
Edward Snowden looks to me like a man of conscience and conviction who risked his life to alert us all of what was coming ---- sort of like Paul Revere. Now the corporate press is focusing on him and glossing over the crimes he revealed..... talk about shooting the messenger.

Mr. Cordesman is a diplomat to his core. Even his audio reviews were remarkably diplomatic. Unlike me, he has gone very far in life knowing what not to say.

To much of the world, the U.S. is the schoolyard bully who steals their lunch money and makes them live in fear.

So I'm not condemning my country but just expressing disappointment about learning that we aren't what schoolroom lessons told us we are.
Check mark Macrojack.

99% of the people on this planet that want us and our next 10 generations to die a long and painful death would not even know we exist if it wasn't for our expansionist, meddling foreign policies.
Because we opened our shore to all oppressed people of the world which IS the greatest humanitarian effort in history, that doesn't give us the right to rape, rob, pillage and then set up a straw government (for future r, r, & p) anywhere we please. The politicians might tolerate you, the masses will .., well it's pretty obvious how the People will view us.
I apologize for bringing my observations that have nothing to do with the advancement of our hobby to this site. I will try not to let it happen again.
The two greatest examples of sticking our nose where it does not belong, are both World Wars.
First we provoke both Japan and Germany, then we help destroy both countries. Killing hundreds of thousands in the process. Mostly civilians!! Neither country ever did anything to 'US', to deserve our agression.

Interestingly, I don't recall reading about any European protest at the time.

And the Middle East in the worst example of all. We now have have an entire religion hating us. Was not always that way. Why is it that way now?

So I agree we should mind our own business, I just have a problem with this picking and choosing. I think Washington told us to stay out of those entanglements.


The world just feels that it has veto power over the use of American power. When we are saving their asses, our intervention is great. Otherwise, yankee go home, until we need you to sacrifice your young and treasure again. We'll call you.
Someday it will become apparent that all politics are a sideshow and that oligarchs rule. Go back as far as you want and you have oligarchs at the uppermost level calling the shots with politics used as a veneer, replete with flags and bunting.

Our great democratic experiment is barely surviving thanks to oligarchy. What our founding fathers started was the greatest attempt at a functioning democracy and for awhile, oligarchs were not really present. It didn't take them long to coalesce and solidify their hold (about a 100 years into this experiment).

Their reach is getting worse (stronger). One only has to look at the Tea Party anarchists and the extreme right wing religious anarchists to see just how efficient they are at disabling American democracy dead in its tracks. Germany, Spain, Italy, et al have all gone through this before and we are next on the chopping block. Balkanization has already taken hold and we are adrift in this sea of indecision. It's no wonder the "government" is looking out for itself as it's become a player unto itself, for most part and privatization is a natural outcome as it's just a means to grift off the last and most lucrative entity extant in our democracy.

If you take a step back and look at what's going on, we're kind of modeling this after the Soviet example: one big fire sale of what should remain in the commons.

That's my take on it and I only mention it after what's been penned prior. I'm not looking for an argument. It's only meant to be another way at looking at it. I still have hopes for turning this all around and the pendulum seems to be finally swinging back the way of a democracy or sorts since for all the time it's been on the right, things have really gone to pot. Academics have theorized that it's a generational phenomena of sorts with offspring of conservatives tending towards liberalism and then back again. Who knows?

All the best,
The fact is we all do know the truth and you've been careful enough in your analysis to ward off a heretic's or fanatic's badge. Do some research into the true character and positions of authority of your founding fathers and things will fall into perspective. "Great democratic experiment"? I don't think so. Maybe a few little ones along the way. Interesting read in the paper today by Daniel Ellsberg titled 'Snowden made right call to flee U.S.'
07-05-13: Rok2id
The two greatest examples of sticking our nose where it does not belong, are both World Wars.
First we provoke both Japan and Germany, then we help destroy both countries. Killing hundreds of thousands in the process. Mostly civilians!! Neither country ever did anything to 'US', to deserve our agression.

Interestingly, I don't recall reading about any European protest at the time.

I'm assuming that you were alive during ww2 by your last statement so take this with all due respect.
We formally declared war on Japan Dec. 8, 1941, the day after they bombed Pearl Harbor. Within days Germany and Italy declared war on the United States as signatories to the Axis Tripartite Pact.
I don't see how you can award the moral high ground to Hirohito, Mussolini and Hitler who were hell bent on world domination through any means necessary.

******I don't see how you can award the moral high ground to Hirohito, Mussolini and Hitler who were hell bent on world domination through any means necessary.*******

Was not speaking of 'moral highground', I was addressing American INTERVENTION and the world's reaction to it.

*****We formally declared war on Japan Dec. 8, 1941, the day after they bombed Pearl Harbor. Within days Germany and Italy declared war on the United States as signatories to the Axis Tripartite Pact.*******

I guess you forgot about American spport with war materiel for Great Britain and France. Both at war with Germany. I guess you didn't hear of the American Navy's attacks on German Submarines in the North Atlantic. Or the Navy escorting convoys heading for England. Or the American Volunteer Group(flying Tigers) fighting the Japanese in China. Ever hear of the American embargo against Japan concerning oil and scrap metal. ALL of this, and more, happened long before Pearl Harbor. Giving the UK, old US Navy ships etc....

****I'm assuming that you were alive during ww2 by your last statement so take this with all due respect.******

Actually I was, for some of it. Was not old enough to read. But if you read carefully, you will see that I said, I don't recall READING (now) about protests that would have happened during that time(WWll)

Of course, with all respect due you.


I, for one, am enjoying this thread. I think it wouldn't hurt a bit to have a section for such (political, etc.) debate here on the 'Gon. If others are opposed, they don't have to look.
Rok2id, your understanding of the causes of US involvement in WW2 is grossly inadequate.
My understanding of EVERYTHING is grossly inadequate. At least according to my family and friends. You have stated the obvious!

Anthony Cordesman lived near a business that my best friend from high school owned. He would occasionally drop in the store to shop, talk a little about stereo, and leave some cables that he had finished auditioning or reviewing. I ended up with some really nice inter connects and speaker cables for free! Thank you Tony. As a reviewer, I consider him one of the best! Oh, and my friend is not longer with us, I am sad to say.
I think the thread should read: " Yossarian on Snowden" "Kid" says Yossarian... "you're going to be all right"
Great quote.
I read that book twice in a row.

All the best,
Today are reasonable expectations of privacy are reduced from the days when
our Justices first enunciated the doctrine in the context of Fourth Amendment
jurisprudence in 1967--- sad to say. Companies use our cookies to see our
purchasing (and who knows what else) preferences, our cellphones are
utilizes quite freely by the courts to determine not only the fact of a call but
one's location when it was made. This info is of course available to our
telephone companies and indeed stored by them for a period of time in the
regular course. We hope and trust that they do not abuse it. We go through
EZpass, but do not want it utilized for the ulterior purpose of issuing
speeding tickets--, your cable company has your viewing preferences down.
Your credit card co knows how where and when you purchase things and what
your purchasing preferences are. Many businesses have hidden cameras that
monitor their streets and parking lots. They are recording our movements.
In this context, the disclosure that the US is able to and does collect metadata
(and not the content) of many millions of calls made me feel safer than
before. The stated purpose for this program was to preserve our ability to
retroactively, under the appropriate circumstances, connect the dots on those
who are in constant communication with terrorists or terrorist cells and
perhaps obtain subpoenas to monitor the calls in the future. This previously
undisclosed ability, now compromised, has resulted in a loss of a critical tool
in our national defense.
We can applaud a number of instances where an unauthorized release of
classified information led us to be a freer country with better restraints
against bad governmental conduct, e.g--the Pentagon Papers, Watergate. I
am not one who believes that whatever the government classifies should
remain so just because our government says so. Indeed, I believe there is far
too much classified information and much less transparency in government
than there should be.
Nevertheless, I cannot for the life of me see how, in the context of what we
know is known about us by any number of actors today, we can applaud
Snowden for undermining a key tool for our national defense under the guise
of being a champion of our privacy. He simply had no legal right and, more
importantly, no moral right to make these disclosures.
Let me bring a different perspective to this discussion. First off, I am Canadian and thus may see things differently Hey! I was not alive during WWii and my parents were only young children living in separate areas of the world. I have no idea who Anthony Cordesman is as an audio reviewer or political commentator.

As for Edward Snowden, who cares its too late the damage, if any, is done. If the secrets he revealed were so important, then the people who should be shot or punished are those that failed to provide the safeguards to prevent a single person from accessing, downloading and leaking the information.

What I don't get is all the outrage and surprise about what Snowden leaked. The fact the NSA was spying on people's email and phone calls was public knowledge, there was a report by Frontline in May 2007 "Spying on the home front" exposing this whole operation. Was it the extent of it, the implication of Google, Microsoft or others, maybe.

What really get's me is that the Boston bombers were previously flagged by the NSA, the Russians even warned the US about the danger but still they were able to carry out the horrific acts. Billions of you tax dollars are being spent each year, and the rights of US citizens and others are being compromised and in the end you still don't prevent the terror.

Now my outrage, a little over a week ago here in a small town in Quebec, a train carrying over fifty tanker of crude oil was left unattended during the night and rolled back 12 km/ 8 miles down a hill into a curve and exploded levelling the town of Lac Megantic, the accident killed 50 people. Nearly everyone in the town lost someone in their family. The exact cause of the event has not yet been determined but it was not terrorism.

Similar accidents have occurred and will likely continue to occur throughout out the US, Canada and the world. BP comes to mind as a prime example, with the Deepwater Horizon disaster they killed 11 people and leaked millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf. That was preceded, 5 years earlier, by the Texas City Refinery explosion that killed 15 and injuring 170 people.

My point is that on a daily and continuous basis various industries are undertaking high risk operations that put the lives of hundreds or thousands of people at risk. Far less government money and resources are spent minimizing or eliminating these risks. Risks which when compared to the risk of terrorism are far greater.

Fighting terror touches an emotional string with voters whereas regulating industry slows the flow of campaign funding. Not to mention that most people can't understand or tangibly assess these risks. That is why after 9/11 it is reported that in the US air travel decreased in favour of automobiles despite that the fact the odds of dying in a car reck are 1:98 vs a plane crash 1:7178 (source USA Today).

Let me end with a Popper quote "We are democrats, not because the majority is always right, but because the democratic traditions are the least evil ones of which we know..."
Dear Nick_sr,
Thanks for a well thought out post.

I know our EU friends were none to happy with being the target of US espionage.

Politicians have been beating the terrorism drum for money and votes back to Bush Sr. Both parties are guilty.

The marathon bombing kids are a prime example, to shut down a entire metropolitan area and turn it into a police state for what? More people are killed and injured on the Boston highways every weekend. That was a mob mentality response that pandered to the police state crowd.
Are you kidding? What if there were more players and bombs?
You, and the politicos can play the "what if" game.

Those of us that evaluate risk for a living deal with historical facts as a paradigm for future events.
Just the facts please.