Diminutive Violin for Snowden

I haven’t blogged about Edward Snowden in a while. The former NSA contractor admitted to having released classified documents that detail the agency’s activities and spying against… well… everyone, and now he’s stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, looking for asylum wherever possible.

First he ran away to Hong Kong and released the information to world media. Then he hopped a plane to Moscow, hoping to keep running to whatever nation will have him. Now, he’s upset and is accusing the United States, and particularly Barack Obama, of making him a “stateless person.”

Snowden’s requests for asylum have been outright rejected by several nations, while others hemmed and hawed that he’d have to get there first to fill out the proper paperwork. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was willing to offer Snowden asylum, but that he’d have to quit disclosing US classified information (and probably hand over any other intel to the FSB).  Snowden wasn’t happy with that deal, so he withdrew his asylum request, and is currently festering at Sheremetyevo with nowhere to go.

I have a few thoughts here.

Snowden obviously did what he thought was right. I’m not a fan of my government spying on me either, and I’m disturbed by these revelations.  People deserve to know that their own government is spying on them.

That said… Snowden has repeatedly attempted to paint himself as bigger and more important than he was.  He claimed to have been a highly-paid government contractor with the authorization and ability to access anyone’s phone conversations and read anyone’s emails. Fact of the matter is he was a low-level contractor, making $122,000  per year. I seriously doubt he was “authorized” to do anything of the sort.

As for authorization to access people’s communications? No low-level contractor with a few months on the job has that authorization.

Any analyst at any time can target anyone…. Where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of the sensor networks and the authorities that that analyst is empowered with. Not all analysts have the ability to target everything. But I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone: From you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email.

Dude, come on. Really? Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that with all the safeguards and bureaucratic snags in place at any government agency, a low-level contractor with nothing but a GED would have the authorization to access the President’s email? Good luck with that. If you believe that, I have this bridge to sell you…

Not only that, but a diplomatic cover overseas with the CIA? For a high school drop out with not even an Associate’s degree? You’ve GOT to be friggin’ kidding me!

And there’s this little matter of the Army Special Forces, covered by the guys at This Ain’t Hell.

He claims to be 29 now, so, in 2003 when he says he went through SF training, he was 19. He also didn’t have a high school diploma – so those two things disqualified him right there. He says that he “began a training program to join the Special Forces” which could mean anything really – since his training would have begun at BCT (Basic Combat Training), just the wording of that statement makes me think that he didn’t get anywhere near Camp Mackall. Looking at his picture, I don’t think I can imagine him on the 5 mile airport run at Mackall with a ruck packed with bricks.

Then he goes to tell how he thought he would be helping people, but the Army seemed more interested in killing Arabs. That makes me think that he was headed to a civil affairs job and he’s calling it “Special Forces” as we’ve seen phonies do in our pages. And yeah, in basic training they kinda teach new soldiers how to kill people who are intent on killing the new soldiers – hence the name “basic combat training”.

Overall, my impression of Snowden is that he’s one of those fringe freaks, who blindly takes anything out of the mouth of Ron Paul as gospel. He figured that since Ron Paul and his acolytes claim that everyone hates America and our imperialist tendencies, that he would be welcomed as a hero who fought for liberty in many countries – especially ones who are adversarial toward the United States.

But it didn’t work out that way. Like Ron Paul, Snowden appears to be woefully ignorant of political, diplomatic and foreign policy realities, and trying to kiss up to nations that don’t like the US wouldn’t quite work out the way he planned.

Obama didn’t make Edward Snowden stateless. The only person who made Edward Snowden stateless was Edward Snowden.  He made a decision to release classified information, and expected to be welcomed anywhere in the world with open arms, because the US (according to Paulian rhetoric) is so reviled by everyone because of our foreign policy.

As far as I’m concerned, Snowden needs to take some responsibility for the decision he made. If he truly believed it was correct to release classified information to the world, he needs to understand that decision comes with consequences. And he needs to be able to accept those consequences, which he doesn’t appear to be willing to do, preferring to snuggle up to our adversaries in hopes that the enemy of his enemy will be his friend.

As far as I’m concerned, if he’s proud of what he did, then he needs the conviction to stand up proudly in the United States and answer the charges against him.

That’s what I call real courage.

 

9 responses

  1. I still think the guy was planted by CIA to screw over the Administration out of revenge for letting Benghazi go the way it did. On the other hand….I’ll say this, I don’t think he’s any kind of “hero” at all. If he has all that data he supposedly has and plans to release it, he’ll end up on trial for espionage. If he merely released the fact Americans are being spied on by our own government and stopped RIGHT there… well, who knows?

    I’d like to believe he thought he was helping, but he’s said too many contradictory things already. As you said…. coming home and answering the charges against him would be “Courage”.

    The Cowardly Lion (who had courage all along), he ain’t.

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  2. Don’t forget that he claims he took the job at Booz-Allen-Hamilton for the sole purpose of stealing information. For me, that goes above and beyond any kind of “whistle-blower” claim and directly into common criminal activity.

    What he stole wasn’t something that he had just “discovered” and felt that he needed to let everyone know for the concern of his conscience. He has been SELLING this stuff to the press for cash.

    It isn’t just the revelations that our government has been spying on us either. (I think we ALL pretty much suspected that already, we just didn’t want to have it so publicly proven.) He has also been spilling the beans on our snooping on other nations — probably including the details on how and where.

    There hasn’t been an electron microscope small enough to find how little I care about this idiot’s “problems”. I will laugh my ass off if Putin finally discovers just how insignificant of an insect this guy is and hands him over to the US.

    I am more concerned about the companies that “contract” with the US. NSA didn’t hire Snowden, Booz-Allen did, and they allowed him access to areas and information that was clearly above his security level. And they allowed him access to this stuff where he could literally download that stuff onto thumb drives and leave the building with it. THAT is the damning part of this whole story, and the press is only focusing on Snowden, and not the private contractor that created the environment for him to do what he did.

    Why?

    Because Booz-Allen-Hamilton is a subsidiary of The Carlyle Group. Aside from being mostly owned by the Bush family and the Saudi Royal family along with several other former and current government officials, they also own major positions in most of the companies that own our media.

    This is the main problem with our media today — the people who own it are certainly not going to allow it to report on anything that is going to show them in the wrong light. They would sooner have the media report on the distractions that keep us fighting between ourselves.

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    1. You were dead on right up until you got to the Carlyle Group conspiracy and the BAH allowing him access.

      Snowden got his clearance through the government, just like any government employee. NSA granted him access to that area, not BAH. BAH has no say where their contractor is “allowed,” as long as the terms of the contract aren’t violated. This has nothing to do with BAH, other than the fact that they hired him. The government could have always denied his clearance, and NSA could have refused to allow him in. I’ve seen it happen with a dozen contractors. Their clearances are OPM granted, but a clearance doesn’t mean a person is trustworthy. It just means no one found anything questionable in his SSBI.

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      1. Patrick McFarland, the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, said during a Senate hearing that the contractor USIS is being investigated and that the company performed a background investigation of Edward Snowden.

        From what I have been reading, a security clearance is a lot different than the background check, and apparently there are more questions than answers concerning how Snowden’s was done.

        For the record, I feel that there are certain things that SHOULDN’T be farmed out to private contractors. That would be anything military or intelligence. (there are several other areas, but I won’t go into them now)

        As far as simply obtaining a security clearance, from what I can see, the bar isn’t set all that high. (Allegiance to the United States; Foreign Influence; Foreign Preference; Sexual Behavior; Personal Conduct; Financial Considerations; Alcohol Consumption; Drug Involvement; Psychological Conditions; Criminal Conduct; Handling Protected Information; Outside Activities; and Use of Information Technology Systems) Apparently a high school dropout with a GED and a tendency to exaggerate his importance seems to have no problem obtaining one.

        Also, I’ve been reading that it is easier to obtain a security clearance with the CIA since they have a tolerance for the more “independent thinkers” and will look past certain online criminal behavior and who aren’t afraid to blur certain lines.

        Snowden applied for his clearance about ten years ago through the CIA. From what I understand, he only had to reapply through the government contractor clearance process [http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-13467.htm]

        The bottom line here is that something is seriously broken. Snowden isn’t the only one BAH has employed under questionable circumstances, and there may be hundreds more like him.

        HOWEVER these security clearances are granted, they really must be gone over again, otherwise we might as well just throw open the file cabinets and post all of our nation’s intelligence secrets online.

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        1. USIS is the US Investigative Service – they are primarily responsible for providing background investigations for the federal government. A security clearance is the result of a background check. If your background investigation comes back clean, the US government grants you a security clearance.

          As far as simply obtaining a security clearance, from what I can see, the bar isn’t set all that high. (Allegiance to the United States; Foreign Influence; Foreign Preference; Sexual Behavior; Personal Conduct; Financial Considerations; Alcohol Consumption; Drug Involvement; Psychological Conditions; Criminal Conduct; Handling Protected Information; Outside Activities; and Use of Information Technology Systems) Apparently a high school dropout with a GED and a tendency to exaggerate his importance seems to have no problem obtaining one.

          That would depend on your level of clearance. Generally a secret clearance isn’t that tough, as far as I know. For a TS, you need to undergo an SSBI (Single Scope Background Investigation) performed by (mostly) USIS. They go back 10 years, talk to people who knew you in your old schools, residences, etc. If the names you provide are of people who have a generally positive impression of you, the investigator will obviously get that impression. That’s why they also ask the person whose name you provided for names of other people who knew you, and they talk to them as well.

          Also, I’ve been reading that it is easier to obtain a security clearance with the CIA since they have a tolerance for the more “independent thinkers” and will look past certain online criminal behavior and who aren’t afraid to blur certain lines.

          No idea. I can’t imagine that’s true, though! That would be pretty ridiculous.

          Snowden applied for his clearance about ten years ago through the CIA. From what I understand, he only had to reapply through the government contractor clearance process

          There isn’t really a difference, other than who performs the check. Some agencies are a little more stringent than others. State uses its own investigators. OPM uses USIS. It also becomes easier to get cleared if you already hold or have held a high-level clearance.

          The bottom line here is that something is seriously broken. Snowden isn’t the only one BAH has employed under questionable circumstances, and there may be hundreds more like him.

          HOWEVER these security clearances are granted, they really must be gone over again, otherwise we might as well just throw open the file cabinets and post all of our nation’s intelligence secrets online.

          I don’t think it’s the clearance process that’s broken. As I said, the government is ultimately responsible for granting clearance or not. But there’s only so much an SSBI can reveal. I don’t know. Maybe contractor firms need to also do a lifestyle polygraph exam on employees? That might help.

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        2. Maybe contractor firms need to also do a lifestyle polygraph exam on employees? That might help.

          At the VERY least, that. But I still have problems with outsourcing intelligence to private contractors. For that matter, outsourcing anything that has to do with the military or intelligence, or even security to private contractors.

          As to the rest of the information you’ve provided — I defer to you. 😉

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        3. I don’t disagree with you there. I started out as a contractor, so I have a pretty solid knowledge of how things work.🙂

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        4. BTW – Pennywise, is fucking disturbing!!!😀

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  3. I spent most of my 8 years in the Army in MI (Military Intelligence…and NO, that’s NOT an oxymoron.) In those days, the FBI performed most background checks for security clearance purposes and their “raw files” (you remember them…the ones Hillary got illegal access to back in the early 90’s?) contain all sorts of information–some of it factual and some merely hearsay. What I can’t understand is how in the WORLD Obama ever got a security clearance?

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