May
10
2014

Of COURSE Ed Snowden’s heist was an espionage operation.

This should surprise nobody:

Edward Snowden‘s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story. In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.

The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that only a handful of the secrets had anything to do with domestic surveillance by the government and most were of primary value to an espionage operation.

…but it will, anyway.  And it will surprise people who should have known better all along, honestly.  I will forgive people who came late to the partisan wars, as it were: but if you have been doing this sort of thing since 2002 or so (as I have) then you freaking well should have known that you should never trust anybody who was so enthusiastically defended by Glenn Greenwald.  Being championed by a notorious anti-American seditionist* is, as we say, a ‘tell.’  Never trust the antiwar movement.  Never trust the antiwar movement.  Fools, dupes, and knaves, the lot of them.

Now, as to whether Ed Snowden had prior help from Russian and Chinese spy agencies… that, I do not know.  It could very easily be that the man simply assumed that both organizations would be happy to pay well for the information that he was providing, assuming that it was juicy enough – and that information just was, wasn’t?  The bright side of this, of course, is that (ironically) your basic Commie and post-Commie spy agencies are notorious tightwads when it comes to payouts: I assume that in a couple of years they’ll decide that it’s not cost-effective anymore to protect Ed Snowden. And then we’ll grab him, because nobody holds a grudge like our alphabet-soup natsec bureaucracy.

I look forward to covering that particular espionage trial.  Especially if Snowden trades names in exchange for not getting the needle. Which I suspect that he will: it’s the first betrayal that’s the hardest, after all.

Moe Lane

*Grenwald’s an American citizen who very much wants to topple the existing US government, to the point of cooperating with people who are now credibly linked with Russian and Chinese spy services. I stand by my statement: and if I had the hard evidence for treason required by the Constitution that I love and Greenwald hates, I’d make that charge, too.  But we make treason charges hard to prove for a reason.

15 Comments

  • Bartlett says:

    The problem, as I see it, is that the only ones who have enough information to give an accurate picture of the event – Snowden himself, the Chinese and Russian security agencies, and our own intelligence apparatus – have exactly zero incentive to EVER let the whole truth become known. In fact, they have compelling reasons NOT to.
    .
    If he’s a traitor, the “whistleblowing” smoke screen is critical to Snowden. If he’s a dupe of the FSB, the more clouded they keep it, the more they preserve their advantage. If he’s truly a white hat whistleblower and has kept the keys to the kingdom out of malicious hands, the intelligence apparatus in Washington will have to blow as much evil-looking smoke as they can in order to keep their jobs and authorities. And it all looks exactly the same from the public’s limited perspective.
    .
    About all you can really say is that the American intelligence community seems to have handed him the entire archive on a freaking silver platter. We paid salary and benefits while he took advantage of some of the worst security policies you could imagine and stole pretty much whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to. As far as we know, it went completely undetected until it broke in the press. Even then, it was months before we had a clue how much he really had. And who, exactly, has paid a price for that in our own administration? Yeah, I thought so.

    • johnv2 says:

      This.

      We’ll never, ever, ever get a straight story from the US intel side. I trust them less than Snowden. If Snowden really wanted to turn over US secrets, why the whole Greenwald thing? It would have been better to waltz over to the other side and turn stuff over quietly. Who knows, with the clown show at the NSA, they might never have figured out that he took a bunch of stuff. With the Greenwald stories, even the NSA can figure out we’ve suffered a serious loss.

  • Luke says:

    Given the sterling track record of our national security apparatus, I very much doubt damage was done to us.
    (But if Russia takes the information they received seriously, it may hurt them. And I’ll just be all broken up when that happens.)
    .
    By blowing the whistle on our national security apparatus flagrantly violating the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the Church reforms, Snowden preformed a public service.
    .
    He exposed treason.
    While committing treason.
    How you balance that equation is very much a matter of subjective interpretation.
    As the our national security apparatus is only slightly more competent than our State department. I believe the scale tips in his favor.

    • Crawford says:

      Let’s give him a ticker-tape parade. All the way to the gallows.

      As for Greenwald — Matt Hale.

      • midwestconservative says:

        I’m cool with the parade if that’s what it takes to get him to the gallows.

    • Cameron says:

      I’m sure that the people who lost their jobs when they were duped by Snowden are just absolutely thrilled at how he spoke truth to power.

      • Bartlett says:

        Amd who were these, exactly? I mean, sure, I’m sure that individual people who gave Snowden their login information are at risk, but they pretty much earned that. So too the people who didn’t vet him.
        .
        I haven’t heard of a whole lot of bloodletting among the senior managers who supervised the climate in which he turned. I don’t think anybody is being held accountable simply because the whole system was designed to be subverted by a single sysadmin. Clapper and Alexander seem to be doing OK, judging by their output in the press. Maybe I’m just missing something, but it seems like “lost their jobs” is not exactly the common fate of those responsible.

        • Cameron says:

          Several people have lost their jobs for giving Snowden access to their accounts. His former employer has lost that contract and will probably not be allowed to bid on any government contracts for several years.
          .
          But hey; his father finally noticed him. I guess that’s a plus.

      • Luke says:

        My caring about their career prospects registers less than zero.
        .
        They were committing treason. Full stop.
        They should be publicly executed.
        If the only people surviving at NSA after the necessary purge are cryptography personnel, I’m fine with that.
        .
        The Russians, schmucks though they are, are nowhere near the threat to us that our own wanna-be Stazi poses.
        .
        I won’t cry if Snowden follows them to the gallows.
        But their treason is much worse than his. He betrayed the federal government. The others betrayed the citizenry.
        They go first.
        Except they don’t seem to be going, do they?

        • Moe_Lane says:

          This is actually rhetoric that I do not want to see in the comments sections of this site.

          • Luke says:

            Noted. I’ll try not to rise to the bait.
            .
            That said, spys inevitably infiltrate spy agencies.
            The government becoming a police state only occurs if we allow it. Even if the details are deliberately hidden from the populace.

        • Cameron says:

          I think you have a very unclear notion of what treason actually is. And Snowden had options available to him, both through his employer and the NSA (Not to mention his Congressman) that he could have utilized if he had concerns.
          .
          But instead, he went running to our enemies and he refuses to face the consequences of his actions. He’s been a failure at life so far and this is just reinforcing that idea.

          • Luke says:

            The same NSA that’s repeatedly lied to Congress about what they’re actually doing?
            The same employer that was contracted to violate the law?
            The same Congress that can’t publicize the abuses they know about because they’ve been marked as “classified”?
            .
            Your “options” are no options at all.
            .
            The just exercise of power comes from the consent of the governed.
            We did not consent to any of this.

          • Cameron says:

            Yes, the same NSA that has lawyers on call 24/7 that are trained to handle this. The same BAE that has lawyers on call 24/7 that are trained to handle this. The same Congress that has whistleblower protections for people who come forward with evidence of crimes like this.
            .
            Your “options” are no options at all.
            .
            He had procedures to follow if he suspected wrongdoing, just like every other government contractor. And Jason Bourne novels aren’t reality: Abuses do get investigated and people do get nailed for them. But he chose to lie and steal, then ran away to a hostile foreign power. I have as much pity for him as I do Manning. I could have had some respect for him if he used his own credentials to get the information and then went before a lawyer to report it. Heck, I’d even have a slight shred of respect for him if he came back to face trial. But he’s someone who has been a failure at life and he’s trying to atone for that in the wrong way.

          • Luke says:

            Governmental abuses rarely get investigated. Bureaucrats are held accountable for abuses even more rarely. And in this case, the wrongdoing was official policy. Not to mention classified to prevent an open airing.
            .
            I’m sure the NSA has lawyers trained to “handle” this.
            That is emphatically not a point in their favor.
            The NSA was acting in open violation of our Constitution and the Church reforms.
            Dismantle it.

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