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    Snowden’s double-edged sword

    Snowden’s double-edged sword

    Was Edward Snowden just protecting the privacy — of Russian and Chinese intelligence services?

    Edward Snowden is the hero of those seeking to protect privacy of Americans.

    He’s also certainly the hero of the Russian and Chinese military and intelligence services, who don’t exactly speak on camera.

    The New York Times and Spiegel revealed, based on Snowden leaks, how the NSA managed to penetrate a Chinese computer equipment company’s source code and obtain an ability to monitor communications through that equipment. That fact, plus revelations as to how it was done, will help Chinese intellegence agencies tremendously.

    There’s also question as to whether Russian intelligence obtained materials allowing it to evade NSA surveillance with regard to it’s Ukraine operations, reports Michael Kelley at Business Insider (emphasis in original):

    U.S. officials think that that Russia recently obtained the ability to evade U.S. eavesdropping equipment while commandeering Crimea and amassing troops near Ukraine’s border.

    The revelation reportedly has the White House “very nervous,” especially because it’s unclear how the Kremlin hid its plans from the National Security Agency’s snooping on digital and electronic communications.

    One interesting fact involved is the presence of Edward Snowden in Russia, where he has been living since flying to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.

    In August, primary Snowden source Glenn Greenwald told The Associated Press that Snowden “is in possession of literally thousands of documents … that would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”

    So it’s either a crazy coincidence that the Russians figured out how to evade NSA surveillance while hosting the NSA-trained hacker, or else it implies that Snowden provided the Russians with access to the NSA’s blueprint.

    My position hasn’t changed since the Snowden story originally broke:

    …. I’ve been uncomfortable how this has gone down. We shouldn’t be kowtowed into silence just because some of the consequences of this espionage and theft are good from a privacy perspective….

    Is “whistleblowing” the reason Snowden took and disclosed the intelligence information, or the cover story to engender sympathy from people — like me — concerned about privacy rights which, by the way, don’t exist in China or Russia.

    That Greenwald chooses to call people who question the Snowden narrative “anti-transparency journalists” and to lay the responsibility for disclosure on the publishers of the information not Snowden, seems like a desire to protect Snowden at all costs, including the cost of the truth.  That Greenwald terms the differentiation between protection of American and foreign privacy a “jingoistic view” confirms how astute Snowden was at choosing Greenwald as his primary contact and de facto spokesman.

    When will we know whether this was a Snowden job or a legitimate attempt to protect civilian privacy?

    We may never know.  Until it’s too late.


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    PersonFromPorlock | March 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Estragon | March 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Snowden is a traitor. So is anyone who defends him.

    So, tell us how you feel about Washington and Jefferson.

    Live by selling out. Die by selling out.

    Snowden is a traitor as is any one who spies on me.

    richardb | March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Snowden first flew to Hong Kong then off to Russia. I think it’s possible, if not obvious, he dropped off his cache of electronic media at each stop. Just like the US engages in joint intel ops with other countries, it certainly is possible that Snowden was a agent run by a joint Russian and Chinese operation.

    The killer in all of this isn’t the fact that Snowden betrayed his country it’s that our NSA management was so stupid and derelict in the duty to allow a numb-nut like Snowden to have access to our family jewels. That is the killer. The betrayal of duty from these people is worse yet because we’ve seen only arrogance and denial from the NSA and other black orgs in the Obama Admin. Denial is all we get.

    MarlaHughes | March 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I’m still on the fence as to whether Snowden is a double agent and/or a dupe. It’s pretty obvious that he could not have accessed some of the information he stole w/o someone higher up the food chain giving him access. One example is that FICA court order on Verizon Business Solutions. Verizon isn’t even allowed to keep a copy of that order and access is limited to (I think) 53 people total. At least one of those 53 was/is an accomplice of Snowden’s, willingly or unwillingly and Snowden just doesn’t impress me as having the mental acumen to be able to fool someone that high up the food chain long enough to acquire their passwords nefariously.

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