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The most wanted man in the world
August 13, 2014 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Edward Snowden - The Untold Story, from Wired's Threat Level.
posted by nevercalm (103 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear Wired: unless you want to give the impression of a broken website, there is no good reason to put a full-screen image at the top of an article that doesn't move until you turn the scroll wheel completely.
posted by lumensimus at 6:25 AM on August 13 [28 favorites]


When I was in college I was told most the things Confucius says are probably just made up and attributed to him. I started making up my own Confucius sayings. Anyway, that's the vibe from this piece. Every whistleblower out there with a purported smoking gun is unloading it and saying, Snowden. Look at Snowden. I think this is kinda awesome. The idea that Snowden could become the Confucius of whistleblowing. Decades after he's gone from this earth, people will still be leaking and saying, "No idea how that got out there. Must have been Snowden."

This piece is also a bit odd in tone. It seems written like a redemption piece. It's what I would want to become the narrative if I were wanting to return home.

I am still holding out for the Nobel Peace Prize for Snowden.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:29 AM on August 13 [21 favorites]


As an american, I wish he could come home without fear of prosecution. As an eyeglass wearer, I wish I could send him a new pair of glasses.
posted by valkane at 6:36 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


Yeah, cjorgenson, that was my takeaway, too. Of course, anybody can use Snowden as cover, not just white hat whistle blowers.

Snowden = Snowden (Catch-22) and also Snowden = Snowball (Animal Farm).
posted by notyou at 6:37 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


He should just fly into SFO and dare the US to arrest him. Every tech person on the west coast would be there to greet him.
posted by empath at 6:43 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


"I wish I could send him a new pair of glasses."
A propos, how does he support himself? Can/do people donate money for him?
posted by travelwithcats at 6:48 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


He should just fly into SFO and dare the US to arrest him.

When the USA thought he was on a plane flying to South America, they forced it down. They would almost certainly do that again. Armed guards would board the plane and drag him off, shackle him and blindfold him, and convey him secretly to a US base where he would be tortured.

The tech people in SFO would be waiting for a very long time.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:56 AM on August 13 [30 favorites]


When the USA thought he was on a plane flying to South America, they forced it down.

Not just a plane, the president of Bolivia's plane. Like, a head of state.
posted by indubitable at 6:59 AM on August 13 [27 favorites]


convey him secretly to a US base where he would be tortured

It's important not to feel to sanctimonious about it, though. You have to understand the incredible pressure the intelligence services have been under since 9/11, and it also protects the children.
posted by spacewrench at 7:01 AM on August 13 [37 favorites]


Snowden = Snowden (Catch-22) and also Snowden = Snowball (Animal Farm).

also Snowball (Animal Farm) = Cannonball (Weather Report) = Cannonball Run (Burt Reynolds)
posted by thelonius at 7:10 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


This piece is also a bit odd in tone. It seems written like a redemption piece. It's what I would want to become the narrative if I were wanting to return home.

I watched the Snowden tv interview from a few months ago, and my take-away from that is that Snowden absolutely wants to come home. Why wouldn't he, if he is what he claims to be - a patriotic whistle-blower disgusted with the illegal actions of his own government?
posted by muddgirl at 7:12 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


and convey him secretly to a US base where he would be tortured.

That is just absurd, paranoid nonsense. The government knows everything it needs to know about Snowden, and knows everything it needs to know to secure a conviction against him. The only thing torturing Snowden could achieve is making it impossible to prosecute him.
posted by yoink at 7:27 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


The only thing torturing Snowden could achieve is making it impossible to prosecute him.

...and putting the fear of something worse than prison in the mind of future whistleblowers, some of whom no doubt have families.
posted by gauche at 7:29 AM on August 13 [31 favorites]


That is just absurd, paranoid nonsense. The government knows everything it needs to know about Snowden, and knows everything it needs to know to secure a conviction against him. The only thing torturing Snowden could achieve is making it impossible to prosecute him.

What was the point of torturing Chelsea Manning?
“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
All of this spying on American citizens, and the CIA and NSA seems to have missed every important world event unfolding in the past 5 years, from the arab spring to Putin's cold war revanchism to ISIS.
posted by empath at 7:30 AM on August 13 [53 favorites]


Umm, they tortured Manning just because. Also, we discussed TAO previously, but I hadn't realized that only his job with Booz Allen gave him access.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:30 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


And, FWIW, I don't think that's absurd paranoid nonsense.

Under the Bush Administration, John Yoo, Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General and Counsel to the President, has argued in public that, should the President determine it necessary to crush the testicles of a child in order to extract information from that child's parent, no law stood in the way.
posted by gauche at 7:33 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Obviously if we had all the information we'd be crushing testicles too. Most likely our own.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:35 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I mean seriously, is Platon a fucking joke or what.
posted by phaedon at 7:39 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


yoink is right. It's absurd, paranoid nonsense. If Snowden turned up in the US he'd simply be arrested, tried, and sent to prison. There aren't black ops teams out there trying to assassinte him or Assange. Manning was in the military system, Snowden wouldn't be.

Aside from paranoid fantasies, there's zero reason to think Snowden wouldn't simply be tried and jailed, platitudes and vague musings about "power" aside. The only reason this hasn't happened is because Russia has found keeping him to be a useful way to piss off the US.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:40 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Under the Bush Administration, John Yoo, Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General and Counsel to the President, has argued in public that, should the President determine it necessary to crush the testicles of a child in order to extract information from that child's parent, no law stood in the way.

And he's right so far as it goes. The problem is that there isn't any political will to change the law, and that's because most americans are OK with this, at least in the abstract.

So far as we know, Obama hasn't continued that portion of Bush's policies, but really, to whatever extent Obama chose to not torture, nothing stops President Palin from resuming those policies - except the law, as thin as that is.

It should be easy to get "Constitutional Conservatives" on board with this, and get the law changed. However, they are full of shit, and Democrats are feckless. So, here we are.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:40 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


The most wanted man in the world

Eh, I'm going to go with Ayman al-Zawahiri
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:41 AM on August 13


They don't even know what files he copied.
posted by I-baLL at 7:44 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Had CBS news on this morning before work, and they ran a quick story about this article. And, while it's been a joke in our house for a while that their morning show is The Voice of the Establishment, I was amazed at the vitriol Norah O'Donnel started oozing at the mention of Edward Snowden. No pretense of journalistic objectivity, just straight-up "fuck that guy, he should be in irons."

It shouldn't have been even remotely eye-opening to me, but somehow it was.
posted by COBRA! at 7:45 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Eh, I'm going to go with Ayman al-Zawahiri
Nah, only the west wants to capture him, everyone wants a piece of Snowden.
Why do you think he's in the only country on Earth scary enough to protect him from every other country on Earth.
Unfortunately for him, that's also the reason he's not going to be leaving there.
posted by fullerine at 7:51 AM on August 13


Aside from paranoid fantasies, there's zero reason to think Snowden wouldn't simply be tried and jailed, platitudes and vague musings about "power" aside.

And you just completely glossed over Chelsea Manning's torture? Wow, transgender people really don't count, do they...

Look, we have examples of high-end whistleblowers and other enemies of the US intelligence infrastructure being no-kidding actually tortured - and then prosecuted on top. There's no reason to believe Snowden won't be both prosecuted and tortured - the US has some nasty, recent (Obama era) priors here.

(And yes, the Russians are keeping him around just to antagonize the US, which means he's a bargaining chip in getting sanctions lifted or in restarting arms control talks.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:53 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


And he's right so far as it goes. The problem is that there isn't any political will to change the law, and that's because most americans are OK with this, at least in the abstract.

It's not clear to me that's the case -- I seem to recall something about being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and arguably the loss of a body part constitutes the loss of at least one of those -- but I wasn't introducing Mr. Yoo for the purpose of arguing with the substance of his position.

I was introducing him for the purpose of pointing out that at some point during the Bush Administration, it appears to have been necessary to ask the lawyers, "what are the limits around what we can do to a child, if we want to force the parent to talk?"
posted by gauche at 7:54 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Great interview.

One new tidbit:

When, in the midst of the Syrian civil war, Syria was suddenly cut off from the global Internet, people generally assumed that Assad had done it, as part of his campaign of repression and genocide. But, according to Snowden in this interview, it was actually the US that did it -- it was some kind of botched hack attempt by NSA.
posted by grobstein at 7:55 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


If Snowden turned up in the US he'd simply be arrested, tried, and sent to prison.

You forgot the part about the conviction.

You also seem to be forgetting Ms. Manning.

There doesn't HAVE to be orders from on high to torture or be an asshole guard in the prison for conditions to be sucktacular for the held person. Individual guards can be assholes and go against policy and how often will they be held accountable?

The guard doesn't even have to do it. The person who decides who are cellmates puts someone who's in the 10% psychopath category and your 'problem' prisoner issue gets solved for yourself.

And who here thinks emails/documents explaining when the above has happened never crossed Mr. Snowden's path?

Why would one assume if there was such an email/document it was a tall tale/lie?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:56 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


They don't even know what files he copied.

That is what "we" have been told.

Why should a statement from "they" or "them" be trusted?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:57 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


“I think they think there's a smoking gun in there that would be the death of them all politically,” Snowden says. “The fact that the government's investigation failed—that they don't know what was taken and that they keep throwing out these ridiculous huge numbers—implies to me that somewhere in their damage assessment they must have seen something that was like, ‘Holy shit.’ And they think it's still out there.” (pp.2)

Actually I suspect their so morally bankrupt that they've no idea what constitutes a “smoking gun .. that would be the death of them all politically”.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:58 AM on August 13


They don't even know what files he copied.

That is what "we" have been told.

Why should a statement from "they" or "them" be trusted?


Per the interview, Snowden apparently thinks this is true.

Remember that, as evil as the intelligence apparatus is, it's also a disorganized bureaucracy where bad information security is the rule.
posted by grobstein at 8:02 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


And who here thinks emails/documents explaining when the above has happened never crossed Mr. Snowden's path?

Yeah, Snowden clearly has more information than any of us about his likely fate were he to return to the US (that is to say, all the public information we've got plus whatever he knows that we don't). And he's staying put.
posted by straight at 8:02 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


And you just completely glossed over Chelsea Manning's torture? Wow, transgender people really don't count, do they... em>.

No, I didn't, but thanks for the side accusation of transphobia.

As I said, Manning was in the military judicial system, Snowden wouldn't be. The military used the differences in procedures to harm Manning, but the normal judicial system doesn't work like that.

"What about this other person in a different situation under different conditions?" isn't very helpful.

You forgot the part about the conviction.

If Snowden is tried he'll be convicted. There's no question he broke the law. Whether that breach should be excused is a separate question.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:03 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Why should a statement from "they" or "them" be trusted?

If they were doing effective auditing of access of sensitive data, he never would have been able to leave the facility, let alone the country. It's not hard to structure a data storage network to allow for auditing access, but clearly, they have not done this. Thereby, they also have no idea who has access to what, and little control over what they can do with it.

I think it's clear that there is more than one Snowden, and that there are other leakers. He's been super smart about this, and frankly, when I am elected Emperor, I will hire him to do my network security, because he seems to have a better grasp of the fundementals than, say, this guy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:06 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The military used the differences in procedures to harm Manning, but the normal judicial system doesn't work like that.

Given the conditions of most federal prisons in the US (rape, gang violence, guard brutality, etc), being put into prison is tantamount to torture.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Given the conditions of most federal prisons in the US (rape, gang violence, guard brutality, etc), being put into prison is tantamount to torture.

Yeah, but that's a separate problem. It's torture for every prisoner, not a special punishment for Snowden. The accusations in this thread seem to be that he will be targeted for special harm.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:14 AM on August 13


He'd absolutely be put into solitary confinement from day one, do you not agree?
posted by empath at 8:15 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


We're talking about them torturing Manning before his trial, Pogo_Fuzzybutt, not the unfairness of the trial itself.

In truth, the “smoking gun .. that would be the death of them all politically” really depends upon the political situation. Imagine if Snowden's revelation got Ron Wyden or Rand Paul elected president over the intelligence community's objections. We've no idea if that'd actually change anything, cost any contractors real money, etc. Yes, they've better credentials than Obama, but Obama really did zilch here. Ain't so hard to imagine even a Paul or Wyden being distracted by president stuff while reform efforts get side tracked.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:16 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The byline is not in the FPP link, but the article is by James Bamford. Bamford is the ideal journalist for this story, because he was the first journalist in the 1970s who alerted the American public to the fact that the National Security Agency even existed. (Back then, insiders would jokingly refer to the NSA as "No Such Agency.") His book The Puzzle Palace was the first book-length history of the NSA and is an essential book for understanding Cold War intelligence. The fact that Bamford got this exclusive interview with Snowden says a lot for both Bamford's and Snowden's credibility.
posted by jonp72 at 8:16 AM on August 13 [24 favorites]


> as evil as the intelligence apparatus is, it's also a disorganized bureaucracy where bad information security is the rule.

It reminds me of state police announcements about drug busts involving impossibly large quantities (eg, small-time dealers accused of carrying kilos of hash) appraised at ridiculously high street prices (hundreds of millions of dollars) to make the cops sound heroic and make the street corner thug's public defenders have to decide whether to go through the additional time-wasting effort of disproving the police's figures within the small time available to prep for trial or go straight to a plea bargain.

The officials can claim anything they want because nobody but Snowden can counter with an accurate estimate. So they're going to claim extremely large quantities of data stolen because that helps stack the deck both in the court of public opinion and in the Feds' own prioritization of his case.
posted by at by at 8:16 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


What an awesome article. While I won't believe it all, I'll read everything I can about this guy for the rest of my life.
Before he made off with the documents, he tried to leave a trail of digital bread crumbs so investigators could determine which documents he copied and took and which he just “touched.” That way, he hoped, the agency would see that his motive was whistle-blowing and not spying for a foreign government. It would also give the government time to prepare for leaks in the future, allowing it to change code words, revise operational plans, and take other steps to mitigate damage. But he believes the NSA's audit missed those clues and simply reported the total number of documents he touched—1.7 million. (Snowden says he actually took far fewer.) “I figured they would have a hard time,” he says. “I didn't figure they would be completely incapable.”
Not sure if it's true, but crazy if so.
posted by resurrexit at 8:19 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


The accusations in this thread seem to be that he will be targeted for special harm.

Given US* policy for the past decade and a half on handling persons officially viewed as treats to national security, be they traitors, "non-combatants", even child soldiers, I think guilty on that charge until proven innocent is the only prudent course Snowden can take. Prisoner treatment is one of his stated reasons for leaking the files in the first place, after all.

*and all their allies, of course.
posted by bonehead at 8:19 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Okay, this is getting ridiculous. It's incoherent to say that every prisoner in the U.S. is exposed to torture in the course of imprisonment and to simultaneously that the torture of someone you're saying would unquestionably be imprisoned is nonsensical, absurd, and paranoid. It's precisely because consequence-free torture is omnipresent that it's pretty reasonable to envision Snowden being tortured.
posted by XMLicious at 8:20 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The military used the differences in procedures to harm Manning, but the normal judicial system doesn't work like that.

The UCMJ is emphatically not empowered to torture the accused. The military did it anyway, and got away with it. Now, you maintain the Justice Dept. is emphatically not empowered to torture the accused, and they probably won't get away with it if they do it anyway?

Sure.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:23 AM on August 13 [14 favorites]


He'd absolutely be put into solitary confinement from day one, do you not agree?

And solitary is considered torture by the United Nations - is there a disagreement on that?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:29 AM on August 13


Thinking Snowdwn wouldn't be tortured isn't naïve, it's willfully stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:30 AM on August 13 [23 favorites]


The best thing (for them) the US could do is to pardon him.
Tell him he is completely free to return and all charges are dropped.
Pretend it's part of a deal where he tells them what he took.
Shit, call him a hero enough times and the Russians would probably kill him themselves.
They're going to do it anyway but at least if he's pardoned it's harder to make it look like the US did it.

Wow, I've finally achieved it, I'm more cynical than the NSA.
posted by fullerine at 8:33 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


"How Syria Turned off the Internet"---so apparently that was actually the NSA, nice.
posted by resurrexit at 8:37 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Every time I accidentally brick a router at work, I'm blaming it on the NSA.
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on August 13 [12 favorites]


yoink: “That is just absurd, paranoid nonsense. The government knows everything it needs to know about Snowden, and knows everything it needs to know to secure a conviction against him. The only thing torturing Snowden could achieve is making it impossible to prosecute him.”

Sorry – what's the implication here? Are you sincerely suggesting that Edward Snowden ought to return to the US because he would be safe and secure if he chose to do so? Or were you just quibbling with the details of the way in which he'd be imprisoned if he got on a plane to return here?

If you have specific details about what you know the CIA / NSA / etc would do with him should they capture him, that would be relatively important information that I should think we should share with Snowden himself. I'm sure he'd be glad to have it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:46 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


After Wired's involvement in busting Chelsea Manning, I see no reason whatsoever to pay attention to their coverage of other information security leakers.
posted by mwhybark at 8:49 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


This was a fantastic article, and I thank you for posting it!

Of all the revelations in it, my favorite is probably the casual mention of a ghost in the hotel:

Lenin once lived in Room 107, and the ghost of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the feared chief of the old Soviet secret police who also lived here, still haunts the hallways.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:57 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


If Snowden is tried he'll be convicted. There's no question he broke the law. Whether that breach should be excused is a separate question.

You're glossing over a few steps here. People unquestionably break the law all the time and still walk. Sometimes it's procedural, sometimes it's damn fine lawyering, sometimes it's jury nullification. The optimist in me says the jury wouldn't convict. You would need only one to say no.

Of course, that's how I feel about non-violent drug crime and somehow I never get on that jury.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:59 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


phaedon: “I mean seriously, is Platon a fucking joke or what.”

?
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 AM on August 13


Hmm, imagine if Snowden were in fact pardoned and came home.

I'm not sure that isn't more dangerous for him. Bets on his survival? Perhaps a Dallas nightclub owner would shoot him as he was coming home. Perhaps he'd die of polonium poisoning. Some tragic accident.
posted by tyllwin at 9:00 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


That is just absurd, paranoid nonsense. The government knows everything it needs to know about Snowden, and knows everything it needs to know to secure a conviction against him.

They need to make an example of him; it is a matter of national prestige. Expect a carefully managed show trial, with an Aiding The Enemy conviction and death sentence, and an opportunity for the President to make a dignified-sounding statement about “the greatest crime against one's country” whilst signing his death warrant.

And make no mistake about the importance of this outcome. Putting Snowden in front of a firing squad on US soil is the Apollo program of this decade, in terms of the US's standing on the world stage. Billions can, and will, be spent to achieve this outcome.
posted by acb at 9:02 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


I'll likely embarass myself with the following observations because I won't guardedly speculate as I think most people try to do...by first saying most speculation I read on surveillance seems to come from a place of I am too smart to be conspiratorial in my reasoning...

Had Snowden not methodically collected documentation, none of his claims would have escaped dismissal by a rather male need to assert, "I'm not a fool," or "I'm not easily fooled," because when it comes to James Bond, I'm that guy.

Snowden's unabashed claim of "I'm an engineer," has no basis, but is implied by an extraordinary rise through assignments of both the CIA and NSA by the repeated term of "technical" that wends and floats through titles and trainings for a young, inexperienced idealist positioned by an extraordinary proximity to the heart of intelligence operations beginning at the age of 16.

Because his intelligence was tested twice.

His belief that in Russia he avoids being hacked is quaint. That he's always been "smarter" than the agencies he's developed, informed and coordinated because, after all, they don't even know what documents he took despite his "trail of bread crumbs".

I'm going to commit the conceit I began with: Intelligence, surveillance and agitation (done to thousands of citizens over years and years) achieves many aims by knowing the motivations of its targets and enabling them to do what they are predicted to do.

There's a lot of theatre to it.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 9:08 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The military used the differences in procedures to harm Manning, but the normal judicial system doesn't work like that.

The normal judicial system doesn't operate under the anti-terrorist laws we put in place after 9/11. Do remember that we tortured folks.

Anyhow, because we might do something isn't a good reason to assume that we will do something. Okay, just because we have done something doesn't mean we'll do it again. Okay, just because our government has no credible transparency doesn't mean we can't ever trust it to tell us the truth. Even though it [our government] lies to us. A lot. All right. Look. Just because the government does things for no obvious reason doesn't mean they have to have an obvious reason to do something unreasonable. You can see that there is no chain of logic anywhere in this set up. You just have to sort of make up a scenario and stick with it until the next news cycle.

I don't blame Snowden for seeking asylum wherever he could get it, but to me (an old fart who remembers the Cold War), getting asylum from Russia is so ironic that it makes my ears bleed.
posted by mule98J at 9:23 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Speaking of theatre: thoughts on the interception of David Miranda's hard drive? 'Egregious' seems too dismissive to do it proper justice.
posted by sibboleth at 9:24 AM on August 13


His belief that in Russia he avoids being hacked is quaint.

He says he's sure he will be eventually but as of yet does not believe he has been.
posted by empath at 9:37 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The normal judicial system doesn't operate under the anti-terrorist laws we put in place after 9/11. Do remember that we tortured folks.

And killed american citizens with a drone without a trial.
posted by empath at 9:38 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


lazycomputerkids, are you saying Snowden was manipulated into doing this?

I think that's going too far, but Wag the Dog isn't as ridiculous and farfetched now as it was in 1997.
posted by flippant at 9:51 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Miranda's hard drive? Surrounding the amoral directives of authority, I think there are concentric circles of misinformed, or partially informed, agenda to keep everybody busy, but I don't know if that's what you're asking. My suspicion of what has been achieved with Snowden is a necessary admission of what parity there is between the corporate (beginning with Google and now so much more) collection of information and the government itself.

I'll embarass myself further: Since Day 1 of Google, the NSA was aware of its potential, if not responsible for it. Most geeks my age grew up with the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. We didn't know it when it was released, but the physical scale of of Colossus depicted in the movie was not an exaggeration by many factors. From Bamford, I wouldn't learn until college that the NSA's computers were first measured by the acre.

The maxim about magic and technology? I think that's the edge the NSA (with the CIA) has always pursued. And every time an FBI agent is killed in the line of duty, I think they have to wonder what assets the CIA might have had in place.

He says he's sure he will be eventually but as of yet does not believe he has been.

I read every line of the article. I know he was explicitly talking about his hardware, and though I mean that too, his notion of what it means to be hacked I've attempted to express is a little narrow. Beside the engineer claim, another to leave me aghast was "being erased from the pages of history."

I "support" what he did. I wish I lived in a political environment that could accept his reasons for what he did and he could come home, but we don't and the terms of advocacy available are limited in my view.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 9:53 AM on August 13


One interesting point: Greenwald is contradicting some elements of the story on twitter.
posted by toofuture at 10:11 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


lazycomputerkids you are not the only person on the internet who sees conspiratorial handling in Snowden's behavior. See runesoup archonology collaborators. Impossible but he has really done this well.
posted by bukvich at 10:13 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


bukvich, I'm struggling to make any kind of sense out of what he's implying, and there's a nice bit of 9/11 trutherism at the end there.
posted by empath at 10:17 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Runesoup archonology collaborators appears to me to be the meanderings of someone on the edge of schizophrenia.
posted by wuwei at 10:21 AM on August 13


I am also having an incredibly hard time parsing lazycomputerkids's comments.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:22 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Demonic paraspsychological force. Archons = Gnostic gods who mess with men for amusement purposes. He is saying pretty straight out that Snowden was possessed.

I don't know how you can argue that Snowden is an agent being handled by some shadow group without going all the way there is the point I would argue.
posted by bukvich at 10:23 AM on August 13


bukvich, I've not meant to go as far as your link's supposition, and though I've enjoyed Naomi Wolf, I prefer Klein more.

Greg Nog, yeah, it's very early/late for me and my syntax is poorly and clausy, but if there's any specific noun/subject question you have, I'll try.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 10:26 AM on August 13


Thinking Snowden wouldn't "hang himself in his cell" before his public trial begins isn't naïve, it's willfully stupid. THAT's how you make an example of somebody.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:50 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


> ...but the normal judicial system doesn't work like that

"Norton accepted the premise that law enforcement is trying to find out what really happened, rather than gathering facts to support their version of events. She seems shocked that the FBI agents lied to her repeatedly as they questioned her; she did not appear to question the premise that the government tells the truth."

Apparently, it works more like this

posted by mmrtnt at 12:15 PM on August 13


Here's what the government can learn to prevent future incidents. When you hire people, stop screening for loyalty and patriotism because when they find out how we're a bunch of hypocrites, they'll turn. Instead hire self-interested valueless psychopaths because they'll toe the line to save their skin.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:23 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


AFIAK, they don't really screen for loyalty and patriotism. The screen for stuff like extreme amounts of debt and skeletons in the closet that could be used to gain leverage on the person. I know people with top secret clearance who I would say have fairly unorthodox political views.
posted by empath at 12:42 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I'm impressed he's still alive.

I'm (somewhat - because of what it means/suggests) baffled that he's in Russia - I can't dissociate Russia from 'Russia/CCCP'.

His actions throughout have convinced me that I have no idea why the hell he's moved the ways he has.

I doubt there will be any kind of coherent narrative/ truth (ha ha!) before a generation has gone by - and then the truth will likely be as prosaic and yet remarkable as the murder of JFK, or any other hopelessly murky yet wildly influential event in the long history of sneaky, clever, conniving mankind.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:49 PM on August 13


Hopefully when he is no longer of use to the Russians, his luck will run out and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.
posted by knoyers at 1:03 PM on August 13


A cool comfortable life surrounded by fun dogs
posted by Greg Nog at 1:21 PM on August 13 [28 favorites]


The dogs would wear little harnesses, which they would use to carry whiskey and ice cream to him.
posted by Balna Watya at 1:35 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


agreed, unless he's more of a cat person.
posted by twist my arm at 1:36 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


In any event, his service animals should, at the very least, have some experience working in the hospitality industry. Out of work animal actors just picking up a gig, wouldn't do.
posted by ob at 2:20 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


his luck will run out and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.

Yes, we can only hope that one day Clapper, and other criminals like Alexander and Hayden, will be brought to justice for their high crimes against the U.S. Constitution and.....oh wait are you talking about Snowden? Drank some of the national security state kool aid this morning, did you?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:42 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


Hopefully when he is no longer of use to the Russians, his luck will run out and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.

knoyers, he's pretty clear and explicit that he loves his country and everything he's done is an expression of that love. Is he lying, do you think?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:43 PM on August 13


Hopefully when he is no longer of use to the Russians, his luck will run out and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.

Snowden deserves a medal and a parade. The NSA betrays the country everyday just by their very existence.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:11 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


I think pheadon mistyped and was referring to Plato's "Noble Lie".
posted by carping demon at 3:28 PM on August 13


Which has been embroidered by every body of authority that has existed for the last two and a half mellenia.
posted by carping demon at 3:31 PM on August 13


Platon took the photographs of Snowden in the piece.
posted by grobstein at 3:49 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


... and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.

Just like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, etc. betrayed their country (as of 1774). True patriots are only recognized as such by the new nations they help create. And it galls me no end to see the term "patriot" used to refer to the Loyal Minions of a corrupt Status Quo. In a just world, the people who want to punish Snowden will get some time in Solitary Confinement themselves to think about what assholes they are.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:02 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Hopefully when he is no longer of use to the Russians, his luck will run out and he'll have to face what he deserves for extensive acts of criminal betrayal against his country.

wow he broke a law. he did an illegal thing. what a weird and irrational thing to do. the laws are really good
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:12 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Ooohh. That Platon. Heh.
posted by carping demon at 4:27 PM on August 13


Drank some of the national security state kool aid this morning, did you?

Freedom Fruit Punch is my favorite national security state kool aid flavor.
posted by formless at 4:30 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Ooohh. That Platon.

I still don't get the original comment tho
posted by grobstein at 4:56 PM on August 13


Ooohh. That Platon.

I still don't get the original comment tho



The pictures suck, is I think the idea
posted by mrbigmuscles at 5:13 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


yoink: That is just absurd, paranoid nonsense.

Enough people have taken this down already, but I just have to add:

In this climate, with these people in charge, and when it concerns Snowden, there's not a lot that is too absurd or paranoid that it couldn't conceivably happen to him were Snowden to give himself up. True things that are stranger than fiction happen all the time, and additionally there are enough important people scared of Snowden, what he represents, and the example that he provides, that all kinds of things could happen in that event. We're in the woods on this one.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


As the person who made the original comment:
I wouldn't have made that suggestion a few years ago, but it now seems almost self-evident. Yoink said that torture would prevent a prosecution - very well, they won't prosecute him. I understand that senior officials have effectively declared Snowden to be an "enemy combatant"; it would just take a stroke of the pen to have him confined for the duration. But there is no duration for the War on Terror: it is not merely indefinite, but infinite.

I don't know what process, if any, there is for an enemy combatant to appeal their status (which might be officially secret, in any case). Courts show great deference to the President as Commander in Chief during wartime; would they even be willing to address the question? Would Snowden have representation? Could lawyers meet with him? Could they see the evidence against him? The answers are likely to be no, no, no, and no.

Perhaps enemies of the US administration were once treated differently than enemies of the USA itself, but those days are gone. Whistleblowers are pilloried, persecuted, prosecuted, and punished. Worse, they are silenced, locked away with the baddest and maddest prisoners as if these clerks represented a physical threat. The President employs torturers and perjurers; his opponents wear manacles and orange jumpsuits and are locked away from the world. There will be no letters from Birmingham Jail.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:48 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


We seem to have drifted into some sort of political event horizon. The correct posture for the American voter seems to be this: we are powerless against the machine.

Snowden is reaching the viable limit of interest for our news cycles, so let's not waste any more time with him. Everything he's revealed has turned out to be true, so what's the point? Let's move on to the next outrage. It may be a bit premature to notice that we are saying much the same thing as those pointy-headed doomsayers who build back-yard bunkers against the coming apocalypse. The difference being that they went straight from uh-oh to loading their magazines, and we are still hand-waving and eye-rolling.

I'm trying to think back. It seems that somewhere in our history we've managed to wipe out or marginalize any moderate factions, then obviate the nominal rule of law in favor of executive mandates, which then creates an unstable power vacuum, allowing carpetbaggers of various stripes to loot various treasuries, paving the way for psychotic militant radicals to.... Oh.

Never mind.
posted by mule98J at 9:50 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The pictures suck, is I think the idea

Exactly, I guess I didn't want to start a full-on derail by elaborating on the ridiculous vignette and the moronic dead pose that is Platon's signature style
posted by phaedon at 1:03 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Government's Response To Snowden? Strip 100,000 Potential Whistleblowers Of Their Security Clearances
posted by homunculus at 3:33 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Fox’s Gutfeld: Snowden Deserves Same Outrage as Nude Celeb Photo Hackers
posted by homunculus at 3:34 PM on September 4


Switzerland will host Edward Snowden, if he testifies against the NSA: Swiss attorney general offers whistleblower safe passage
posted by homunculus at 4:07 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]


My first reaction to that was Wow! That's a very bold position for the Swiss to make. My second reaction was that The Enquirer could have found someone who speaks German, or at least faked it by cleaning up whatever program produced ""What are the rules would apply to consider when Edward Snowden would [be] brought to Switzerland ..."

My final, more considered reaction, was that Switzerland is landlocked, and bordered by countries that acquiesced in the USA's demand that they (effectively) force down a jet thought to be carrying Snowden. I don't know if there's any way he could actually get there.

Here's The Independent on the story, with some more details.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:44 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Fox’s Gutfeld: Snowden Deserves Same Outrage as Nude Celeb Photo Hackers

HE LEAKED AMERICA'S NUDES
posted by grobstein at 8:05 PM on September 8


Swiss payback for all the pushing and shoving that forced the banks to give up their vaunted privacy standards? An interesting twist.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:41 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


My final, more considered reaction, was that Switzerland is landlocked, and bordered by countries that acquiesced in the USA's demand that they (effectively) force down a jet thought to be carrying Snowden. I don't know if there's any way he could actually get there.

Russia is not Ecuador. They're not going to try that stunt with a Russian diplomatic aircraft, especially with diplomatic relations as frayed as they are - it will invite immediate reprisal and has a distant chance of kicking off a military conflict. Fuck, Snowden could just hop on the Aeroflot shuttle from Moscow to Geneva, ain't nobody gonna mess with.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:18 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


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