Edward Snowden: Super Spy

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'They're going to say I aided our enemies' - video interview

That’s the gist of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece which points out that “only a handful of the secrets [taken by Snowden] had anything to do with domestic surveillance by the government and most were of primary value to an espionage operation.” More specifically, General Dempsey says that “The vast majority of [the stolen docs] were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.” According to one off-the-record interview with an Obama official, the Snowden story has only three possible explanations:

  1. It was a Russian espionage operation
  2. It was a Chinese espionage operation
  3. It was a joint Sino-Russian operation.

I’m not sure what to believe. I do think that the most idealized version of Snowden as a self-sacrificing altruist crusading independently for civil liberties is impossible to believe. To me the question is mostly: to what extent was he manipulated vs. co-operating? And with whom? This doesn’t negate the good that has come from the revelations–and good has come from them–but it certainly complicates the whole narrative. Then again, I’m in a jaded mood these days, so the absence of any clear heroes of villains from the story fits.


2 thoughts on “Edward Snowden: Super Spy”

  1. Is there a categorized list of what was leaked supporting Dempsey’s claim that most leaked documents were military? Without one, he can easily make that claim.
    Of course Dempsey and other administration officials want people to think the leaks are part of a big powerful operation. It’s enormously embarrassing if all their security was defeated by one kid. They sound like professional gamers screaming “cheater!” at the 10 year old who just trounced them.

    Is there any evidence of a larger espionage operation leading up to the leaks?

  2. Snowden is deafeningly silent on the new laws and regulations towards data, metadata, and internet usage in Russia which make the NSA scandal seem mild in comparison.

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