Compare those two situations:
"A group of hackers have targeted Syrian ISPs and, in an attempt to wiretap the nation, have brought down internet services in the entire country" <- Scum of the earth! How dare they! People have likely died as a result of this; in the midst of a civil war, too!
"The NSA has targeted Syrian ISPs and, in an attempt to wiretap the nation, has brought down internet services in the entire country" <- Well it's OK because other countries are doing it too. Also, by revealing this, you are an unpatriotic traitor and have endangered the american people."
I call BS. Some people here either lack the most basic critical thinking skills, or are NSA shills.
You are free to disagree, but I don't think any serious politician in the US would. Revealing something like this doesn't seem to advance Snowden's initial goals and makes it incredibly hard to gain any political support in the US. So my initial question stands, what positive value comes from Snowden releasing something like that?
What positive value comes from Snowden releasing the atrocities of the American government? Well, some people have a moral compass more developed than "espionage is a reality and the American government should be able to do as much of it as it wants, in any country, at any time, with any consequences."
Try to be on the right side of history. This is your chance to do that. Maybe you were alive in the 60s or even the 20s, but if you weren't, you're here now, and you can be a part of the struggles we fight today and tomorrow.
Press coverage of the Syrian internet outage at the time: http://www.cnet.com/news/blackout-syria-vanishes-from-intern.... "The Middle Eastern country has been experiencing an Internet outage for several hours, and many people on Twitter are reporting that phone lines are down as well."
http://www.renesys.com/2012/11/syria-off-the-air/ "There was one brief whole-country outage of less than ten minutes on 25 November. By the time that one was confirmed, the outage was over. It would be reaching to call that a “precursor event” or “practice run,” but that’s a possibility."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/30/anonymous-declares-.... "The Syrian government said that terrorists were behind the outages, but CloudFlare, a firm that helps accelerate Internet traffic, said it would have been extremely difficult for any type of sabotage to cause such a comprehensive blackout, according to Reuters."
http://blog.cloudflare.com/how-syria-turned-off-the-internet "All the edge routers are controlled by Syrian Telecommunications. The systematic way in which routes were withdrawn suggests that this was done through updates in router configurations, not through a physical failure or cable cut."
In Syria there was an ongoing international effort to stop the use of, and then secure, chemical weapons. You need effective intelligence in order to do that.
A 10 minute internet outage is an awful lot less bad than what happens when a human intelligence asset gets caught by the kind of actors involved in Syria.
Is it? First of all, the 10 minute internet outage is real, while the asset capture is completely theoretical. Second of all, a 10 minute internet outage can and does kill people. ESPECIALLY in a country like Syria which is in the midst of a civil war; and I haven't even mentioned the much more concrete outcome of this being perceived as a terrorist attack, putting both sides of the conflict on guard etc.
Rightly so. And both of those are true. Thinking clearly is expensive for any individual, and shills are cheap for NSA.