Cato Institute writer defends Google's projection of US "soft power" overseas. I wonder why...

By Yasha Levine , written on June 19, 2014

From The News Desk

It's been a year now since Edward Snowden leaked the NSA docs, and the fallout continues to make a lot of libertarian heads hurt.

Take Marcy Wheeler, briefly of Pierre Omidyar's The Intercept.

Wheeler has been a constant critic of American Empire, and the military and surveillance apparatus that sustains it. She's so fiercely against this power-hungry security machine that she's even argued that TSA airport checkpoints are nothing but a sadistic big government ploy to keep Americans in their check through groping and "junk-touching."

Now Wheeler now takes a surprisingly different view.

Writing for the Koch brothers' Cato Unbound magazine, Wheeler starts by slobbering all over Google's effort to reform the NSA and then complains that the NSA's Internet surveillance "overreach" has seriously crippled the ability of big tech giants to project U.S. "soft power" abroad.


"The conflict between Google and its home country embodies another trend that has accelerated since the start of the Snowden leaks. As the President of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Edward Black, testified before the Senate last year, the disclosure of NSA overreach did not just damage some of America’s most successful companies, it also undermined the key role the Internet plays in America’s soft power projection around the world: as the leader in Internet governance, and as the forum for open speech and exchange once associated so positively with the United States."
So when a government agency projects U.S. power abroad, it's nightmare big brother stuff. But when powerful Silicon Valley megacorps do it, it's a noble thing — something to be cherished and protected?

Wheeler's libertarian hypocrisy is amusing to read. But there's also something much more devious at work here.

In her Cato Unbound article, Wheeler portrays Google as a totally independent and incorruptible entity — a defender of the American people against an out of control government. She makes no mention that, in many ways, Google is the Boeing of Silicon Valley, a global for-profit tech and surveillance corporation that works closely and frequently with the U.S. military-surveillance complex.

Why is Marcy Wheeler and Cato Institute (formerly known as the Charles Koch Foundation) pimping Google?

Surely, it has nothing to do with the increasing close collaboration between the cute Internet company and the Kochs' thinktank apparatus — including the half million dollars in free ads that Google gifted Cato last year...