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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Edward Snowden Declares Victory--But He's A Loser

On the evening before Christmas Eve,  Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman's interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden was published.  In the interview, Snowden declared victory, however his "victory" was as solid as the "mission accomplished" former President Bush declared on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003. 
Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.

Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed.
While most Christians are are congregating around family during this Christmas Season, Edward Snowden is living on ramen noodles like "an indoor cat" in Russia. He will probably never return home and since no other country wants him, Snowden may serve out the rest of his life as a man without a country. That is not victory.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”
In the statement above lies Snowden's mistake. In the short paragraph above describing his actions he uses the word "I" four times. Because in the end, it wasn't about "truth-telling" it was about Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden decided that HE was going to make the decision, that HE knew what was best for society.

Can someone with Mr. Snowden's lack of expertise really decide what can be released without damaging the anti-Terrorism activities of the United States?

On June 22, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage and felony theft of government property. It was a dry enumeration of statutes, without a trace of the anger pulsing through Snowden’s former precincts.
While some of the the government programs Edward Snowden revealed were wrong and unconstitutional Mr. Snowden is not a hero whistleblower but a criminal leaker of secrets. If Snowden wanted to be a whistleblower he would have gone to someone like Senator Rand Paul or Ted Cruz with the information. As libertarians they would have run with the information without leaking the details. And if they didn't well then he could look for a more public way.

People forget that it was Snowden himself who said he went to work at Booz Allenwith the intention of finding NSA wrong-doing and exposing it to the press.

In an interview he gave to the South China Morning Post Snowden said:

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post on June 12. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."
So in the end Snowden was not some whistle blower trying to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself,  with his own words, the way he took the job just so he could grab the information, how he distributed it to the press instead of trying to find someone in congress to talk to, and his self-promoting words to justify his actions to the Washington Post, all show Edward Snowden to be a loser not a victor.

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