aNewDomain.net — Does anyone but a few skeptics wonder about Ed Snowden anymore? Whatever happened to him? This poor bastard takes some documents from the NSA, which he’s convinced were evidence of wrongdoing or a detriment to the country.
He runs off with them, leaving a girlfriend, a house, his family and a country behind. Now what?
Once the cache of documents fell into the hands of The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald in June 2013 the story became the Glenn Greenwald story with Greenwald not only making hay with the pot of gold but emerging with all sorts of accolades and becoming a principle in a supposed $250 million dollar new journalism venture founded by Pierre Omidyar.
Before that score, Greenwald was selling chunks of the Snowden cache to his own news outlet, The Guardian, and also Brazilian and Norwegian outlets.
Does any of this money go to Snowden?
Once Snowden dumped the documents to Greenwald it was, “So long, sucker!”
At least so far as The Guardian was concerned.
So now Snowden is stuck in Russia and probably the target of more than a few assassins — as well as the United States government, which sees him as a terrible traitor. U.S. officials even have come out with a statement that they promise not to torture or murder Snowden if and when they apprehend him, a statement implying they do this as a matter of course and are making some kind of exception here.
The CIA versus NSA theory on what happened to Edward Snowden …
There are some theories that would have Snowden, noted as a previous CIA employee, still working for that agency. That means he is under contract to do exactly what he did as part of some kind of a budgetary struggle between the CIA and the NSA.
The idea here would be to discredit the NSA, which would result in funding cuts that would presumably slide over to the CIA. Overlooked, in all the analysis of this story, was this disclosure in the Guardian interview with Snowden. Here’s an excerpt:
Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.”
He still has a CIA ID? Isn’t that interesting?
Regardless of whether this Spy vs. Spy scenario is realistic, Snowden is still in a pickle and the real beneficiary is not even the CIA. It’s reporter Glenn Greenwald, who recently said he has revealed less than half of the revelations within the treasure trove of information Edward Snowden passed to him. The fact that the NSA was snooping on U.S. citizens and the world was just the tip of things, he says.
That should mean at least one year’s worth of good stuff to hear about and probably a book deal — gaining Greenwald an advance of upwards of seven figures, not to mention motion picture rights and so on.
Does Snowden get a piece of this?
Snowden is eating Borscht.
As Greenwald gets rich, Edward Snowden eats borscht — if he’s alive at all.
Which makes you wonder: What happened to Edward Snowden? He’s eating borscht somewhere in Russia — in the winter — surrounded by babushkas. A babushka is an old woman or a grandmother. Nothing against babushkas. But Snowden is staring at seven figures, too. They’re rotund, elderly and bundled up for the cold weather.
Or, for all we know, he could be dead.
While there is zero indication that Greenwald, The Guardian or anyone else for that matter has done anything to help Snowden, a legal defense fund was set up by WikiLeaks in August. By October it amassed just $40,000 U.S. Compare that to the $250 million the investor Omidyar established to put Greenwald in the new journalism business.
Now it could be that Snowden has already been shaved, has a new job and is wandering out with a new, false identity. Maybe he took the train to Vladivostok and flew from there to Chicago on Delta?
Or perhaps, taking a more conservative entry, he just flew out of Russia to Australia and then to SFO. Who knows?
It’s doubtful he has done any of this because, after all, Snowden is broke.
The NSA whistleblower who revealed to the world the NSA PRISM program and how the U.S. is monitoring electronic mail and phone calls nationwide and worldwide has a bleak future.
Ahead of him he’s got beet soup and boiled cabbage. And that’s only if no one kills him and uses him as an example that will dissuade future whistleblowers.
I see Edward Snowden ending up as a toll taker on the Veliky Novgorod leg of the M11. Perhaps he will be a dashcam repairman.
He’ll be the eventual subject of a badly-produced Where Are They Now?
The person that got Snowden into this mess is the enigmatic filmmaker Laura Poitras.
Filmmaker Laura Poitras, coasting on her MacArthur Fellow grant and spending most of her time complaining bitterly about allegedly being detained at the U.S. border by the DHS, says the Department of Homeland Security is out to get her.
Why, exactly, they are out to get her is unknown. But it has something to do with her films which, as far as I can tell, have had no impact whatsoever on public opinion, foreign policy, international relations or much of anything. You can read about her on her Wiki page. This snippet is interesting:
Poitras has been subject to monitoring by the US Government. After completing My Country, My Country, Poitras claims, ‘I’ve been placed on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) watch list’ and have been notified by airport security ‘that my threat rating was the highest the Department of Homeland Security assigns.’ (10)”
You’ll notice there is a footnote attribution attached to this comment as if it “proved” this assertion to be true. It’s actually a link to the documentary film she’s citing.
Can we believe that she has the highest threat rating they assign because she is such an enormous threat to the United States?
How is this possible?
I’m not saying that someone may not like her and may call for her harassment at the airport once in a while.
But this is utter crap. I know media outlets like Democracy Now and Salon are eating it up, but there is no proof whatsoever. There is neither rhyme nor reason for it and it seems like a publicity grab.
If anyone is a witness to any of this I’d just as soon believe she is being taken to a safe room for a de-briefing by her handler.
Poitras is the one who was the intermediary between Greenwald and Snowden …
Greenwald says that only he and Poitras have full copies of the Snowden docs. Why is this? There is no reference to her relationship to Snowden on her Wiki page. The relationship with Greenwald is also sketchy — although they are both part of a hastily-cobbled-together “organization” called the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which is using Daniel Ellsberg as the centerpiece.
There is no indication that this group is sending Snowden money, either.
And if we look at one New York Times story about this, the situation becomes very spooky.
There is no reason for Poitras to get a solicitation from Snowden out of the blue. It is never explained. And the creepy picture of Poitras makes her look like a spy. That may be the subtext here.
She’s not a journalist by any normal definition.
She graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute, then went to the New School University in New York. This is the home of the World Policy Institute, a thinktank pushing the progressive version of one-world one-government globalism.
So she gets the call from Snowden? Just like that?
Who told Snowden to get in touch with Poitras? Why Poitras?
The missing piece of this puzzle, which we may never really know, is who told Snowden to get in touch with Poitras in the first place?
And what’s the connection with Greenwald?
The public really doesn’t know much at all and nobody is telling us anything. We have no clue what transpired and what motivations drive this scene. Now we are here and waiting for another shoe to drop.
So whatever happened to Edward Snowden?
And this Chinese water-torture approach to the reporting is very strange.
Greenwald slips out an out-of-context NSA slide from a PowerPoint deck and extrapolates a whole column from it. We get to see none of the other slides to put matters into context. A week later we get another slide from another deck. Rinse and repeat. Forever.
And the worst part about this charade is that the information is vetted by the Intelligence agencies and the government itself. The revelations are pre-approved. Supposedly this is just in case someone reveals the name of some hapless Intelligence asset and gets him killed or embarrassed. I think that could be as easily done without oversight.
But let’s play along anyway.
It was okay for the U.S. Government to out Valerie Plame as a CIA field operative when it was necessary to punish her husband for calling out the Bush administration for lies about African yellowcake, but I guess that’s different …
This looks more and more like some bad soccer game we are forced into watching with the final winners and losers never to be known. The only score is Omiydar’s $250 million, the money that went to Greenwald.
Meanwhile, Ed Snowden looks less and less like a whistleblower and more and more like a naïve stooge. I even wonder about the money in his legal defense fund. Where does it eventually go? Probably NOT to Edward Snowden.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m John C. Dvorak.
Cover image: openclipart.org, by Onsemeliot, All Rights Reserved.
Dvorak exaggerate? Never!
Snowden’s situation probably isn’t as dire as is speculated here. Apparently he has a job of some sort, and the Wikileaks folks have an interest in keeping him alive or at least in the public eye.
And Greenwald isn’t exactly on Easy Street. Even if the Brazilian authorities don’t go after him, I’m sure that any Greenwald income from the US or UK will be rigorously checked by the IRS and its British equivalent.
There’s no denying, however, that Greenwald has done better out of all of this than Snowden has.
[…] Reading: What Happened To Edward Snowden by technology columnist John C. […]
I still wonder why in the original video interview, they set up with a mirror behind him — in the left side of the video frame — showing the back of his head. Were they trying to be artsy, or instead trying to imply that there weren’t any “strings” controlling him. #stillwondering
Great column John! ITM!
Exaggerate? Because he thinks diff. than lamestream media and discusses his thoughts respectfully with clarity? Yeah, that is the definition of exaggerate alright. Asshole
Excellent insight, John.