Greater government transparency has been hailed as one of the best remedies to counter excessive state surveillance powers. Snowden’s leaks were meant to shine a bright light on secret surveillance practices in the hope that, once informed, the public could pressure governments into reforms and legalized restraints. This chapter begins with a critique of standard accounts of transparency’s benefits, arguing instead that the effects of transparency depend on the strategic and intersubjective contexts in which it is practiced. It then introduces three dynamics by which transparency results in distorting effects: condoning, ratcheting, and circling the wagons. These dynamics are shown to be at work in a comparative case study of legislative reforms in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany undertaken to address public pressure after the Snowden disclosures. The study shows that Snowden’s disclosures led to legislative reforms that were ostensibly aimed at curbing surveillance but ultimately legitimated, expanded, and protected state surveillance practices in all three countries.