The Greatest Whistleblower Ever? Edward Snowden of the NSA

OK, there are other whistleblowers who might claim the crown, perhaps Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers), Jeffrey Wigand (tobacco industry), Karen Silkwood (power plant health and safety procedures), or Mark Felt (Watergate), but Edward Snowden is going to be right up there, having revealed the NSA’s mammoth cybersnooping. He asked the newspaper that broke the story, The Guardian, to make his identity public, perhaps to prevent his being “disappeared”:

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.”…

[continues at The Guardian]

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  • echar

    Part of me wonders if this is all intentional, and that the red tape is being cut.

    • Ittabena

      I think we will have to wait and see on this one. I get an odd feeling too. On the other hand the Guardian was the paper that Palast worked for, for so long, so I would tend to put them in the good guy category, but we are on the same page again.

      • echar

        They could be a pawn in the NSAs smoke and mirror game.

        • Ittabena

          Did you ever see Across The Pacific, with Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet?

          (Psst, play along I am collecting down votes for a contest. Let’s see if we can rack up a few more.)

          • echar

            No I haven’t, but I know Churchill was a snake. Should I watch it?

          • Ittabena

            It’s not bad, it’s spy/counter spy propaganda thing from pre-WWII days.I’m a Bogart fan, I have a bunch of his. I was just clownin’. It’s my Friday, and it’s been a long week.

            How did Churchill come up? What did Winston do? Well he did have huge colonial goals and viewpoints, and he did try to break the coal unions, and he did screw up in Galipoli, and he did draw up the borders of Iran to include three warring factions, introducing more or less permanent instability there for the benefit of oil exploitation. But other than that what did Winston ever do that was wrong?

          • echar

            I’ll keep it in mind. I have Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in my collection, perhaps I will watch that shortly.

            He roped Roosevelt into getting involved, who made Churchill promise he’d let the colonies govern themselves. Then when Roosevelt was sick, he made deals behind America’s back. Par for the course I suppose.

          • Ittabena

            Ok, John LeCarre. Have you seen The Constant Gardener? Also from one of his books. Good acting, good stars. Big Pharma experimentation in third world thing.

            I’ll have to watch that one.

          • echar

            I have not, it’s been added to my list.

        • gustave courbet

          While healthy skepticism is always advisable in the current media environment, this story has numerous hallmarks of legitimacy. For one, Glenn Greenwald has an excellent reputation for highlighting and effectively critiquing abuses of power. Secondly, within the disclosed info is a proviso to insure the protection of the anonymity of cooperating companies because of the potential damage disclosure would cause to continued cooperation. Thirdly, this is bringing into a broader discourse what many civil libertarians have long known, but what the wider public has been blissfully ignorant to, which has got to be at the bottom of the list of the NSA’s goals. Fourthly, along with his disclosure, Snowden mentions the criminal collusion that regularly goes on with outfits like the CIA and the Triads, which is unnecessary but explosive info. And while I am cynical about the potential impact this disclosure will have, I am impressed by the bravery of this whistleblower.

          • echar

            I am open to all that you have mentioned, I even thought it about some of it already. Then after awhile an idea came to me, the one I shared. It doesn’t mean I am dedicated to this idea or another, Just open.

            Thanks for sharing your perspective. You have given me more information to process about this topic.

          • gustave courbet

            Your response is why this is one of the few websites I bother posting on. Its pretty refreshing to interact with people that are open minded. I try to take the same approach, forming the best opinion i can based on limited info, while being aware of those limitations and not becoming ‘addicted’ to a particular point of view because the information can change…

          • echar

            Thanks for acknowledging open mindedness. Disinfo is pretty damn awesome. I’d like to acknowledge that I am not always the most open minded, however I make a conscious effort to be so.

            :)

        • BuzzCoastin

          he is the whitest white guy I’ve ever seen living in Hawaii
          that alone gives him some cred with me

          • echar

            How do you know he lived in Hawaii, besides taking his word?

          • BuzzCoastin

            no good reason to lie about that
            and Hawaii is CIA Central for Asia
            long has been
            the US overthrew the Hawaiian Monarchy &
            took over the kingdom
            in order to obtain the strategic advantage in the Pacific

            it’s the only place I run into more CIA contractors
            than Thailand/Cambodia

      • Juan

        Dude, how the hell do you get two down votes for this comment?

        • Ittabena

          I know, right? lol

        • echar

          At least share the reason for disagreeing, ya know?

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebenson/ Stephen Benson

        Wouldn’t go overboard on that. Yes, they have some interesting occasional contributors (Cockburn, Palast et al), but these days it’s not what you print, but how often, on what page and in what moment of the propaganda cycle – and at the inflection points leading into each war. On this measure the Guardian falls squarely in the ‘liberal’ war party, cheerleading illegal ‘humanitarian’ war and intervention at least since Yugoslavia.

        And the Guardian’s actions regarding Assange and Wikileaks were and are beyond despicable. Even more so because they leveraged their liberal track record and credibility.

  • Travis R

    Pretty amazing to have somebody come out with the truth and

    a) Not be Bradley Manning-ed, and
    b) Not be a cash grab.

    I guess some people still have some personal convictions and the courage to live up to them. Whodathunk?

    Kodus, Ed Snowden.

    • echar

      I hope so, but I am still skeptical.

      • Ittabena

        The rabbit hole is deep… and dark! I saw today the Seattle Times is spinning this domestic surveillance thing as a good thing. I mean a pretty big section in which that was the only subject.

        One of the most liberal towns in the country, in one of the most liberal States, and the Seattle rag is straight conservative, unless they’re talking about ecology.

        Of course it is Micro-Boeing land as well as Portlandia.

        • echar

          They are pros at deception and the dark arts. From my perspective it’s foolish to feed directly from their hand.

        • echar

          I am certain that is the thought going through a lot of people’s minds. “I am not a terrorist, or bad person. So no skin off my nose”. We’ll see what happens.

        • BuzzCoastin

          Micro-Boeing land indeed
          sprinkle in a bunch of Mormons
          welcome to liberal Seattle
          home of the Amazon DRM

        • moremisinformation

          “One of the most liberal towns in the country, in one of the most liberal States, and the Seattle rag is straight conservative…”

          I believe the problem with this problem is that it is working from a false premise. Aside from veneer, there’s no difference between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ and, as I’m sure you’re aware, is really just a way to confuse the folks who believe they are those things.

          Aside from accepting weed and homos, Seattle is pretty conservative in my experience. Whether they misapply the term liberal to themselves, or not.

      • BuzzCoastin

        They gotta know at some point.
        Who?
        You know. The– The public.
        – They gotta know?- Yes.
        Stan, get with it. Who killed Kennedy?
        I read the first draft of the Warren Report.
        It says he was killed by a drunk driver.
        You watched The Gulf War. What do you see day after day?
        The one smart bomb falling down a chimney.
        The truth?
        I was in the building when we shot that shot.
        We shot it in a studio in Falls Church, Virginia.
        1/10 scale model of a building.
        Is that true?
        How the fuck do we know? You take my point?
        Yes. All right. Ok.
        You want me to do what?
        We want you to produce.
        You want me to produce your war?
        Not a war. It’s a pageant.
        We need a theme, a song, some visuals.
        It’s a pageant.
        It’s like the Oscars. That’s why we came to you.

        Wag the Dog

        • Ittabena

          Wag the Dog, great movie

        • echar

          I need to see this one.

          • BuzzCoastin

            I thought everyone had seen it by now.

            This one and Glengarry Glen Ross are must sees
            David Mamet’s depictions are startlingly accurate

          • echar

            Added to my list. thank you.

          • Juan

            Glengarry Glen Ross left me feeling like absolute shite. I was repulsed and left feeling pretty gross inside, yuck:(
            I guess that was the point, but I could’ve happily gone about my life without ever having seen it.

          • BuzzCoastin

            that’s Mamet’s great talent
            the unvarnished depiction
            of something usually glossed over & romanticized

  • cakey pig

    Behold a man of real fucking steel.

    • Juan

      I really hope so.

  • geminihigh

    I would like to believe that this dude is chock full of integrity and bravery, but could it be that this was all going to come out anyway and the CIA/intelligence community is actively engaging in a pre-leak damage control campaign? “Look at this guy, he works for the CIA and did the right thing, so they can’t all be bad.” Deception is the name of the game, never forget that when listening to a spook.

  • BuzzCoastin

    couple of things to note
    he was based in Hawaii, home of Obama & home of CIA Asia
    (also the home of Monsanto GMO weapon systems)
    Obama family worked for the CIA in Hawaii and Asia
    his being located in Hawaii is significant

    Hong Kong is even worse
    it won’t protect him in the slightest
    and causes him to be associated with the China Bogeyman
    enough to discredit him fer most aMerkins

    I predict he’s dead in about a month
    probably a suicide in Bangkok
    hanging in closet by his genitals
    or maybe like Gary Webb
    and he shots himself in the head
    twice

  • Juan

    This thing is really intersting.
    I really hope this is legit and not another nefarious, fucking psyop, mind-fuck of some kind.
    If the guy is legit, it does tend to suggest that the various entities he has worked for are anything but monolithic. They are, after all, made up of individuals with their own agendas, and hopefully their own morality.
    Wonder how long before they catch this guy and begin a smear campaign in the mainstream media. Wonder if they’ll even bother catching him. Maybe, like others have suggested, he’ll end up dead somehow. If the CIA kills him, it’ll be a “suicide.” If the FBI gets the poor bastard, it’ll just be an execution with some bullshit pretext.
    The guy should’ve just headed straight to Iceland.
    If we’re him, I would’ve secured some kind of safe haven before going public.
    Also, his family is extremely vulnerable. They may go after them as well. It’s what mafias do.

  • ParanoidCoast

    Synchromysticism: Snowden’s death

    “I’m cold,’ Snowden said softly, ‘I’m cold.’
    ‘You’re going to be all right, kid,’ Yossarian reassured him with a grin. ‘You’re going to be all right.’
    ‘I’m cold,’ Snowden said again in a frail, childlike voice. ‘I’m cold.’
    ‘There, there,’ Yossarian said, because he did not know what else to say. ‘There, there.’
    ‘I’m cold,’ Snowden whimpered. ‘I’m cold.’
    ‘There, there. There, there.”

    Joseph Heller, Catch 22

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