Monday, June 24, 2013

Just wandering

By Carl

It seems as though Edward Snowden, the NSA “whistleblower” who has secreted documents to Glenn Greenwald in exchange for his moment in the spotlight, has decided the spotlight was too harsh for him. He has left Hong Kong for parts unknown.

He could be – probably is, at least temporarily – in Moscow.

He might end up in Ecuador.

He apparently “false flagged” an escape to Cuba.

The best guesses are that he is in Russia and looking for asylum in Ecuador. Russia refused to extradite him, probably because the United States had nothing to offer in exchange, and Snowden has far more valuable intelligence to give up in exchange for the cooperation of Russian authorities. Iceland threw up roadblocks to his asylum request, which scared him off it seems.

One thing seems pretty clear from events over the weekend: there are a lot of people very angry at Edward Snowden, people he believed would embrace him with open arms and wallets. Hong Kong authorities, no doubt with significant input from the Beijing government, all but expelled him over the weekend, after he revealed American attempts to hack the Chinese and Hong Konese government. He's a hot potato and no one will want to be left holding him. 

I’m not sure what he was thinking through all this: as more and more of his revelations fall flat in terms of the value of their intelligence, and as more and more of his backstory falls apart under the smell test, it begins to look as if Snowden is an incompetent flunky who stumbled across what he thought was vital intelligence and decided to take the money and run, literally.

He’s no hero. He’s no Bradley Manning or even Daniel Ellsberg, people who stayed and faced the consequences, despite Ellsberg’s vocal support. For one thing, Ellsberg was a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard, a Ph D in Economics who worked closely with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. When he leaked documents, he thoroughly understood what he was leaking. Snowden, a high school dropout with less than three years’ experience in any job, has dumped and pumped.

The endgame here looks pretty simple: Snowden in a ditch after a “car accident”. The government may not be able to bring him home but there’s no way he can’t be touched.

(Cross-posted to Simply Left Behind.)

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