Edward Snowden

One of the charges being floated by mindless defenders of the national security state both within and outside government is that Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on illegal NSA spying programs was the work of Russian intelligence. The charge has literally zero evidence to support it, but NSA’s defenders don’t really seem to care.

In an interview with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker Snowden labeled the charge “absurd.”

Snowden, in a rare interview that he conducted by encrypted means from Moscow, denied the allegations outright, stressing that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.” He added, “It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”

If he was a Russian spy, Snowden asked, “Why Hong Kong?” And why, then, was he “stuck in the airport forever” when he reached Moscow? (He spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.) “Spies get treated better than that.”

That seems to be a key point. Are the American people smarter today than when such tactics were used in the McCarthy era? Or will they be fooled by those invoking the claim that Snowden is part of secret plot by the Russians out of thin air?

Of course the reason Snowden is in Russia in the first place is because the US government revoked his passport and he was unable to travel. Later they would force a plane down carrying the Bolivian president for fear Snowden was trying to escape from his “defected” location.

From Moscow, Snowden explained that “Russia was never intended” to be his place of asylum, but he “was stopped en route.” He said, “I was only transiting through Russia. I was ticketed for onward travel via Havana—a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in—but the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.”

As for why he remains there, he said, “When we were talking about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States forced down the Bolivian President’s plane.” If he could travel without U.S. interference, “I would of course do so.

An inconvenient fact that seems to be left out of reports on the Snowden affair, it was the US government – not Snowden – that kept him in Russia. And now the reactionaries are claiming Snowden’s presence in Russia is proof he was a Russian agent all along? Pretty weak.

The FBI, however, still asserts they believe Snowden acted alone. But don’t let that get in the way of your smears Chairman Rogers.