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NSA Leaker Revealed

His name is Edward Snowden, 29, and he’s now seeking asylum through the Chinese government while currently holed up in Hong Kong.

The posted transcript of the Q&A at The Guardian is slightly edited, but there’s video explaining his actions, here.

Josh Marshall seems unimpressed, and I think rightfully so.

Snowden talks about potential for abuse, but doesn’t really produce any proof, other than the slippery slope argument. And the idea that an NSA Cookie Monster data collection system has indiscriminately gobbled up junk like a whale swallowing up plankton is an unconvincing argument.

He also says this:

Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?

A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.

“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”

Q: What is your reaction to Obama denouncing the leaks on Friday while welcoming a debate on the balance between security and openness?

A: “My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself. He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”

Pot meet kettle. I find his explanation for his actions lacking substance and ideologically-driven. Because “abusive” is a subjective term, used over and over in some variation to justify his leaking of government intelligence gathering methods, especially in the absence of specified abuses. Suggesting that the potential exists for abuse is not an example of abuse(s).

He sounds like a rogue Libertarian who thinks China wouldn’t execute him in the street if he pulled this shit with their intelligence gathering methods.

But, other than revealing a general, Obama= Bush libertarian ideology at play, I see very little from Snowden that would justify such drama. Quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed.

  • blackdaug

    So this guy who GG describes as one of his “readers”….reads GG’s relentless, constant attacks on Obama, loves crazy uncle liberty, suddenly discovers policies that have been in place since the the last administration are no longer tolerable (by him) under this one.
    Decides to release ultra top level security info and move to Hong Kong…in a hurry. At Huffpo they are calling him a hero. Didn’t we used to just call those guys “spies”?

    • formerlywhatithink

      “Oh and the irony cherry being that everything he has “released” so far seems to have been public knowledge for a decade.”

      I’ve been saying this over and over, and like Bob said, was immediately labeled an Obamabot. To me, the only reason why this is getting any traction is because

      a. Greenwald is involved, and his supporters, many who are rabid (I tried posting on Daily Kos that we should wait until we have the whole story before unsheathing our knives and deluged in comments calling a traitor, ignorant, weak, excuse maker, kissing Obama’s ass, etc), are now in almost sexual ecstasy that they “finally” have what they consider incontrovertible evidence that Obama >= Bush.

      b. The way Greenwald is teasing out uncovering “new” evidence in a manner tabloid talk shows would envy.

  • Zen Diesel

    Something about all this doesn’t quite jive right. For one I don’t consider him to be a hero for what he did. The second thing that seems a little odd, is that he was a computer technician contractor that had a clearance that allowed him this kind of access. I don’t know what his true angle is, but it appears he has thrown his life away.

  • muselet

    Edward Snowden says he’s worked in national security for a decade and that he was finally driven to leak because Barack Obama didn’t reverse decade-old policies. Not when those policies were put in place, but when a president from a different political party was in office.

    What a coinkydink.


  • trgahan

    I am probably reading it wrong, but the Guardian’s assertion that this is one of the “most significant leaks in US political history” to me indicates that (at least from the media perspective) this has nothing to do with spying, privacy, or civil liberties and everything to do with taking President Obama’s administration down.

    I agree that the lack of specific instances of law violations in Mr. Snowden’s leaks does smell of a former conservative who was too embarrassed by the failures of the Bush Administration to keep calling himself Republican. So like most educated conservative white males in 2009, he joined the ranks of faux-libertarians. With the GOP trying to weaken public support ahead of 2014 by hitting Obama with fake scandal after fake scandal, Mr. Snowden saw a perfect time to suddenly get principled about our rights as citizens.

  • js hooper

    I’m SHOCKED that Greenwald’s source is a libertarian Paultard who resents Pres.Obama.

    Shocked I tell you. (eyeroll)

    • Lady Willpower

      Greenwald will get in bed with anyone as long as they hate Obama as much as he does.