Edward Snowden turned 30 last year. He dropped out of high school in his second year and never graduated. Somewhat later he acquired a GED degree. He did not graduate from college. He took some college courses yet he never seemed to have the sticktoitiveness to complete anything. I suppose he was bright because his computer skills were such that he was hired by the CIA to do computer security work and eventually stole our country’s secrets using those skills.
His inability to stick to things followed him as he seemed to jump from job to job. He worked in Switzerland for the CIA, left that and went to Japan working for an NSA contractor; then in January 2013 we find him in Hawaii. At this time he reaches out trying to peddle intelligence community information.
This is before he gets a job at Booz Allen Hamilton in a secure NSA facility in March. Two months later, in May, he bolts Hawaii and ends up in Hong Kong at which time the top-secret information he has stolen from the NSA is released to the media through Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian revealing the extent of the NSA surveillance programs.
There seems to be confusion over not only his education background but his work background as well as his 4 months (May to September, 2004) in the Army reserve where he alleges he broke both of his legs in a training accident. Some report he stole the NSA information after he joined Booz Allen in March which seems wrong since he was hawking it prior to that time. Jon Rappaport asks some of the questions that occur to me.
Which makes it strange that some are willing to have us begin to put him on a pedestal along with people such as Nathan Hale. The ACLU has called him a great American and true patriot as it solicits funds. Here’s a quote from its Executive Director, Anthony D. Romero: “Edward Snowden is a great American and a true patriot. My colleagues and I at the ACLU are proud to be his legal advisors. We are committed to assisting him on legal issues he may confront. Thank goodness for patriots like him, who are willing to endure personal sacrifice to defend truths that we hold self-evident, but which too many Americans take for granted.”
If I asked one of my corner buddies I’ve no doubt any would respond: “He ain’t no great American or patriot.” I’d agree. I’m highly disinclined to put him in that class. Patriots should be made of sterner stuff; none I’ve read about have run away.
I have serious doubt the ACLU would agree with me but in my book the great Americans are those who wear our military uniforms and who put their lives on the line for our country. That the ACLU would praise Snowden as it did reminds me of the twisted mentality that happened during the Vietnam War. Robert Timberg in his book The Nightingale’s Song nicely describes this when he told of the thought process of those in the battlefields of Vietnam who saw their buddies being bloodied, maimed and killed saying: “Try as they might, they could not get it through their heads that those who avoided serving did so because of higher morality, greater love for their fellow man, or a sudden attack of religion on the Stockman model” (David Stockman went to Divinity School in 1968 when the graduate school draft deferment was abolished.)
In the article calling him a patriot the ACLU noted the decision of Judge Richard Leon saying what the NSA was doing was unconstitutional. I wrote that Judge Leon was clearly wrong in his conclusion. Last week another Judge William Pauley sided with me and found that the NSA was acting in accordance with our constitution, Here is his ruling:
President Obama assembled a Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies to advise him on the NSA activities. It issued a report. The reporting on it has been quite skewed by the mimeograph machine media which seems content to thoughtlessly reproduce earlier reports written by others. The media’s coverage of the Review Group’s report was so bad that one of the group’s members, Michael Morrell, felt compelled to write an op-ed piece trying to clear up the confusion.,
Judge Leon is in the minority. Judge Pauley, the Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies, the Congress Intelligence Oversight Committees and the FIFA court say it is constitutional. So have many courts that recognize what is actually being done. Tomorrow I will post my take on what NSA has done and explain why it is constitutional.
The ACLU has to put up the lone wolf Judge Leon so it can justify its elevation of Snowden to the heroic. But whether the program is constitutional or not does not bear upon Snowden’s actions. Snowden, in fact, can’t even be considered a whistle-blower since he was not disclosing a wrong; he was revealing an approved intelligence gathering method which he happened to disagree with.
As for Snowden, we do know some things for certain. He published material harmful to the United States; he knew that would be the results of his actions; he fled to avoid facing the consequences of his actions, and he went to countries with the least freedoms who will greatly benefit from his revelations. He fails to see the irony that he is lecturing the United States on the right of privacy from a platform given to him by a country that denies its citizens any such right.
Snowden seems like a mysterious Lee Harvey Oswald; even stranger than Timothy McVeigh. Little seems to be really known about him. Few people have stepped forward who have claimed a close friendship with him. At this time he appears to be somewhat of an odd ball loner buttery-fly type jumping from one thing to another.
Hardly has he acted like the hero. Even less so a great American. He started a debate over the NSA programs but he diminished our nation’s ability to protect itself. In my eyes he was confused and unhappy without even a few close friends who found himself stuck at a dreary desk job staring at a computer screen. He seems to have a lot of the traits of those males doing the school shootings. As we know a lone wolf is a particularly dangerous one. He blames his country for his ills, looks for a way to strike back at it, and finds common cause with those as Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald who presents a view of America as a force of evil in the world.
Heavy on the naive side, he never should have been given access to the NSA information (which makes me wonder at the security of the nation); a warped thought process that makes him believe by making us less safe he’s accomplished a good. He has put himself into the hands of people who will use him for their own ends inimical to America’s interests.
Hero, far from it, much closer to being a malcontent.
I can’t leave without pointing out the ACLU is also fighting for the rights of Dzhokhar (Joker) Tsarnaev. It was concerned that he wasn’t being treated properly in prison. I suppose I should thank God, or as the ACLU would say “thank goodness”, that I’ve yet to read the ACLU has called Joker a great American and a patriot. The ACLU noted Snowden had a greivance but he was “too smart to expect real results from the “official” channels.” One could probably say the same thing about Joker. While we know the harm Joker has caused; it remains to be seen how many Americans will suffere because of Snowden’s actions.