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.