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Snowden Snow Job?

Here’s an interesting twist to the Edward Snowden saga: “Have We All Been Fooled By Edward Snowden?

Some people have been looking into postings done by Snowden on various internet chat rooms and forums, such as Ars Technica. For example, in 2009, Snowden ripped into leakers and whistleblowers, saying they “should be shot in the balls”, and attacked the NY Times for printing the leaked information. During the Bush administration, he defended the warrantless wiretapping program.

But once Obama was elected, his tune changed and he started complaining about the president with increasing frequency. He was particularly upset at gun restrictions, social security, cuts in defense spending, and Obama’s appointment of Leon Panetta to head the CIA, saying “Obama just appointed a fucking POLITICIAN to run the CIA! … I am so angry now. This is completely unbelievable.”

People who remember Snowden back from his days posting on Ars Technica are not so kind about him. One said “He was kind of a dick”. Another says “He was a total cockmonger”.

The question is, did Snowden somehow change his mind, his beliefs, and his life, and become a whistleblower. Or is there something more nefarious going on? And by “nefarious”, I could go either way. Like, are we seeing a smear campaign against Snowden in order to discredit him? Or alternatively, is Snowden part of an attempt to smear Obama?



  1. Cynthia Pierson wrote:

    Who said these things? Where did the comments come from? What is the basis for the comments, and most importantly WHO made them?

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Did you follow the links? Especially the second one (Ars Technica), where Snowden posted frequently. The comments were made by Snowden himself.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 3:33 am | Permalink
  3. Richard wrote:

    Wow IK, this is an important post. I don’t think many realized this.

    Rather odd that he supported Bush’s Patriot act and all the crap that was done under its umbrella. That’s when he should have gone public not now.

    Thanks for this post.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink
  4. westomoon wrote:

    Thanks, IK — this is very helpful. Snowden has smelled kinda “off” to me from the outset, and I couldn’t imagine why.

    I’ve also been somewhat mystified by the initial flap about his revelation. I mean, I acknowledge that I am more paranoid than most, but the “news” that the NSA had been net-fishing in info world didn’t seem new to me — in fact, it seemed about 8 years old.

    When we had all the flap about warrantless wiretapping, wasn’t it started by an ATT tech who’d discovered the top-secret room where absolutely all west-coast IT traffic was sieved by the gummint? I’m a little vague on the details, but I do remember that they had their hands on the full flow of data.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  5. Dan wrote:

    How would you characterize the Republican response to the Snowden saga? And compared to the ATT situation?

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  6. Hassan wrote:

    Why are we discussing Snowden the messenger rather than the message? Did media and political partisan tools have fooled us into talking about Snwoden and Greenwald rather than what they exposed us? Will we spend endless amount of time discussing whether Snowden is hero or traitor?

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  7. James wrote:

    I think it was inevitable the vast spying program put in place by Bush and the military industrial complex, and previously used against environmentalists and other enemies of the state and corporations would be exposed.

    The question, as I understand it, is why now and why by him?

    Was he poisoned to the president by watching too much fox news, or do we credit his pole-dancing girlfriend for a change in outlook? Did others want this information out now, to get it over with when a Democrat was president so the repercussions would be less, and he was just a pawn?

    We may never know. We should not care. Ad Hominem attacks on the messenger distract from the original architects of this program. We should be focusing on finding out just what the extent of the program is, the enormity, who knew, who approved and just how insidious and pervasive it’s reach. That is what the debate should be about.

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  8. Duckman wrote:

    Welcome to America Hassan, where we ignore the problem and protect your guy/attack the other guy instead

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, the comment by Westomoon was about the content of Snowden’s leak, as have comments on other posts here. The real question is why is this news now? If anyone has been paying even a small amount of attention, none of this is new or even particularly surprising.

    And if you want to discuss the message (instead of the messenger) then just do it (and stop complaining).

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink
  10. ThatGuy wrote:

    I don’t think it’s so bizarre to see people fixated on the person who committed the crime. Particularly when, as IK and several before him (and several posts and comments prior to this one) note, none of this was really new information. The media tends to focus on what is of interest, and we had the warrantless wiretapping debate years ago and “security” won, so now the media focuses on potentially silly things like the hero/traitor with a poledancing girlfriend angle. People will watch that.

    The only upside I see to the whole thing is that at least people are talking about these electronic snooping programs. I don’t think they’ll go anywhere, but at least some people are still angry about it.

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink
  11. Hassan wrote:

    @Iron Knee, there is nothing to discuss, people have already figured out where to stand on it.

    1. The people who genuinely oppose this based on constitution, oppose it, no matter who does it.

    2. The people who supported it for security reasons (or whatever) still approve it. (Like neo-cons)

    3. Partisan hacks can be divided into two subcategories.
    a) Republicans who supported it and are now rejecting it because Democrats are doing it.
    b) Democrats who vehemently opposed it (including the President) are now defending it.

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  12. Max wrote:

    You have to have a screw loose to give up a high paying job and girlfriend in Hawaii to become a fugitive. But his loss is our gain.

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  13. Michael wrote:

    Westomoon, the person you are looking for is Mark Klein. Hassan, in my experience, people who insist that everyone falls into one of a few neatly defined categories are vastly oversimplifying the situation. Kind of like when Bush said, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

    James, I agree that the focus should be on the bigger issues. Not just PRISM and the surveillance programs, but the entire military-industrial complex. I am in no way an isolationist and I believe that a robust military that acts as part of an international coalition can do a lot of humanitarian good by intervening in troubled regions. But that’s not what we have. We have a profit-driven (the result of privatization of our security forces) system that is in search of an enemy. This monster was built during the Cold War to thwart the Reds. When the Soviet Union collapsed, we had to find new enemies to fight. It kind of reminds me of Megamind’s search for a nemesis.

    Here’s an interesting suggestion from War is a Racket (published in 1935) about how to end the ceaseless push for war: “Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of [all organizations that profit from war] be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.” I would suggest that we need to add politicians to that mix, too. War is also profitable politically.

    Where I kind of disagree, though, is with the characterization of all inquiries into Snowden as ad hominem. Sure, some are. However, I think it is quite imperative to investigate Snowden himself as well as his claims. While I generally think Thiessen is a bit of a tool and hate agreeing with him on anything, he rightfully points out that the revelations of spying on China, Russia, Syria, and Mali are very damaging. For one reason or another, Snowden has made himself part of the story, and we would be remiss to not ask the question, “Why?”

    Monday, July 8, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink
  14. westomoon wrote:

    Wow, Michael, great comment!

    My favorite: “We have a profit-driven (the result of privatization of our security forces) system that is in search of an enemy.” Now, there’s a nutshell!

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  15. Jon wrote:

    “The question is, did Snowden somehow change his mind, his beliefs, and his life, and become a whistleblower?”

    Nice try at diversion but, no, that is not the question at all. Snowden is not what is important here. The question is whether the program Snowden leaked details about is constitutionally legal. That is the question.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think they are both valid questions. Your question is definitely the most important one, but it is also important to ask “why now”. These programs have been illegal and likely unconstitutional for a long time, and we have known about them for most of that time. The politics are also important.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink