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How Edward Snowden May Have Botched Blowing The Whistle On The World's Largest Spy Agency

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
  • 32 Replies

I did a big post earlier in the week about Snowden and whether he should be extradited/convicted of espionage.  I saw this article today and thought it was interesting--and sort of in line with my thoughts on him.  I WANT to feel sympathy for him, and think that he probably had good intentions, but I really feel like what he did was awful.  Perhaps this explains why.  I do not agree with his lawyer saying "he is just a kid," however.  He is 30.  He should have known better.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/edward-snowden-completely-botched-blowing-155500857.html

How Edward Snowden May Have Botched Blowing The Whistle On The World's Largest Spy Agency

The sun rises above Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 27, 2013.

Initially Snowden served as a legitimate whistleblower — he published the first concrete evidence ofthe NSA's domestic surveillance apparatus, corroborating claims made by previous whistleblowersand raising serious questions about the constitutionality of the NSA running a widespread, warrantless domestic dragnet with weak oversight.

But there is a growing body of evidence that Snowden botched the endgame and may have unintentionally leaked more highly valuable U.S. national security intel than he meant to.

The 30-year-old ex-Booz Allen employee is currently stuck in the transit zone of a Moscow airport, and it seems the former CIA technician has completely lost control of his situation.

He is now in the jurisdiction of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) — i.e., the post-Soviet successor of the KGB — and that he may have already leaked a lot more information about NSA capabilities than he ever intended, possibly against his will.

On May 20 Snowden arrived in Hong Kong from Hawaii with "four laptop computers that enable him to gain access to some of the US government's most highly-classified secrets."

On June 1 he met with journalists, including Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, and began providing them with classified documents. On June 9 he identified himself, which placed a bullseye on his back for U.S., Chinese, and Russian intelligence to see.

“He’s a kid, I really think he’s a kid, I think he never anticipated this would be such a big matter in Hong Kong,” Albert Ho, Snowden's Hong Kong-based lawyer, told The New York Times.

The next day he checked out of his hotel and began providing the South China Morning Post with "documents" and details of NSA hacking civilian targets in Hong Kong and mainland China.

On June 23 he flew to Moscow, and a radio host from Radio Echo of Moscow described what she saw in the airport's transit zone on the day of Snowden's arrival:

"I saw about 20 Russian officials, supposedly FSB agents in suits, crowding around somebody in a restricted area of the airport," Bychkova told Anna Nemtsova of Foreign Policy. "The Kremlin pretends they have nothing to do with him being stuck in Moscow, but in reality they're all over him."

At that point Snowden — reportedly carrying four laptops with troves of highly classified data belonging to the world's largest spy agency — had just been in China for more than a month.

Russ Tice, the original NSA whistleblower who recently revealed that the NSA wiretapped then-Senator Barack Obama in 2004, found it hard to believe that Snowden would carry physical data on him — because of how dumb that would be.

"It would be foolish," Tice told Business Insider. "If he went out to lunch, the Chinese authorities would be searching his hotel room … to try to see if he had any more physical goodies on the NSA. And if he did, he certainly would not have left Hong Kong with that information without the Hong Kong authorities making sure they got it from him."

To those who think Snowden held on to his computers — there are no indications to the contrary — the implications are simple.

“That stuff is gone,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official who served in Russia told The Washington Post. “I guarantee the Chinese intelligence service got their hands on that right away. If they imaged the hard drives and then returned them to him, well, then the Russians have that stuff now.”

From The New York Times:

Two Western intelligence experts, who worked for major government spy agencies, said they believed that the Chinese government had managed to drain the contents of the four laptops that Mr. Snowden said he brought to Hong Kong, and that he said were with him during his stay at a Hong Kong hotel.

If that were the case, they said, China would no longer need or want to have Mr. Snowden remain in Hong Kong.

But, if that was indeed the case, then Russia would certainly find value in access to Snowden.

“The guy is supposedly carrying four laptops, plus a bunch of thumb drives, supposedly knows all sorts of other things,” Matthew Rojansky, the deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington,  told David M. Herszenhorn of The New York  Times.  “You don’t pass up an opportunity like that. You don’t just let him pass through the business lounge, on the way to Cuba.”

by on Jun. 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
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Replies (1-10):
rgba
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Bump
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Luvnlogic
by Silver Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Idiot or traitor? Either way, he appears to have screwed the US big time :(
punky3175
by Punky on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:03 PM
3 moms liked this
Nah - he's a hero. He'd never jeopardize national security with an idiotic move like taking 4 laptops full of information to countries who are allies in name only. Oh wait...
SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:03 PM
1 mom liked this

 Imagine 20 Russians surrounding him in the transit area of the airport. Imagine that. What the hell did he think was going to happen? I have classified information, I am in Russia, no the Russians won't want it?

rgba
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM
1 mom liked this
Heh heh. I was hoping you'd show up on this post too!


Quoting punky3175:

Nah - he's a hero. He'd never jeopardize national security with an idiotic move like taking 4 laptops full of information to countries who are allies in name only. Oh wait...

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rgba
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:07 PM
If he was 18 I may feel bad for him. At 30, I mostly feel bad for his parents...


Quoting SEEKEROFSHELLS:

 Imagine 20 Russians surrounding him in the transit area of the airport. Imagine that. What the hell did he think was going to happen? I have classified information, I am in Russia, no the Russians won't want it?


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rgba
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:07 PM
It will be interesting to see if any of this was intentional. Somehow I doubt it.


Quoting Luvnlogic:

Idiot or traitor? Either way, he appears to have screwed the US big time :(

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stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:12 PM
I wish I could find the article that I read which indicated Snowden got this job with the intention of pulling this stunt...really makes one question the "goodness" of his intentions...if I do find it, will post, and if not, than I suppose I will have to dissmiss that as reliable. But I still question his intentions.
lokilover
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Speculation. Where is the evidence?

rgba
by Bronze Member on Jun. 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM
I vaguely remember seeing something about that as well. I wonder whether he intended simply to blow the whistle to Americans because of privacy concerns, or whether he actually meant to release security information.


Quoting stringtheory:

I wish I could find the article that I read which indicated Snowden got this job with the intention of pulling this stunt...really makes one question the "goodness" of his intentions...if I do find it, will post, and if not, than I suppose I will have to dissmiss that as reliable. But I still question his intentions.

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