Last night, NBC news aired an exclusive with Edward Snowden as he hid behind to the bloody protective cover of noted civil libertarian and anti-police state crusader Vladimir Putin. They say all publicity is good publicity, and perhaps that was going to be true even for this fugitive from law who likes to call himself a whistleblower despite his unwillingness to face the consequences of his leaks. That is, until he decided to take his self importance up a notch and claim that he was a spy. No, not the peeping Tom type but a real, legitimate clandestine operative for the United States. In addition to repeatedly stressing how "high" he was in the intelligence community (well, you know what kind of 'high' I'm thinking here), he decided to go the next step and claim the title of a spy, "in the traditional sense", you know.
That heap of ox excrement was detected even by some of his supporters. Specifically someone who was a real spy in the CIA. Actual former spy Lindsay Moran (also author of the book Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy), who has actually supported Snowden's actions felt compelled enough by the stink of Snowden's attempt to hitch his wagon to true American heroes that she came out to call him out. Watch.
What? You mean to tell me that the Patron Saint of the #StandwithRand movement was caught with his pants down trying to pad his resume? Say it ain't so!
Moran, who is actually a supporter of Snowden's revelations (though she did not comment on his flight from justice) was brutal, calling Snowden out for hurting his own cause and saying that Snowden is motivated by ego and revenge. "... it sounds like he is inflating his position" was the mildest of the rebukes Moran released on the egotistical butthead.
First, she chided him as a spy-wannabe, as she devastatingly debunked Snowden's illusions of grandeur.
I think he's really, unfortunately giving amunition to his detractors and his critics here, because to me this reads as this kind of typical spy-wannabe claims. For sure he didn't go through the tradecraft training and paramilitary operations training that everybody who's in the clandestine service which is the operative branch of the CIA did.
I can hear Snowden fantatics now - "well but Snowden didn't say he was in the Clandestine Service, only that he was a spy!" Not only is that laughable because the definition of being a spy for the United States IS basically that you are trained by the Clandestine Service, but Moran also swatted down the idea that Snowden had to hide his identity for his work.
His claim that he used aliases, I find that very dubious. He wasn't in the Directorate of Operations, he wasn't a human collector of intelligence, and I have never before heard of someone who was in an IT or analyst position using aliases that way or operating the way that actual spies did.
Moran confirmed that it is normal for an analyst to be working for multiple intelligence agencies, but also that it doesn't make him a spy.
The kind of training that you receive to become a spy is very specific. It's tradecraft training, it takes place at the CIA's top secret training facility, and it's not offered to analysts and certainly not to IT specialists.
Moran, who is clearly an honest supporter of Snowden's cause, was visibly pained by Snowden himself stomping on his own credibility. Painstakingly, she concluded that Snowden was motivated not by patriotism or principle, but by ego and revenge (against actual spies).
[It] gives ammunition to people who say he is a traitor and he's also someone who is clearly not motivated by any idealism but rather motivated by his ego.
Within the CIA, admittedly the people in the clandestine service are kind of condescending to everyone else. My kind of armchair psychology take of its that that probably really angered Snowden. I think he was in large part motivated by his ego, by a desire for revenge.
She finally concludes, "I think he does nothing for his cause by making this James Bond claims of grandeur."
It's really kind of sad, when you think about it. The fact that Snowden's sophomoric attempt to rebut President Obama's description of him as a low-level hacker (because you know, what would the President of the United States know about job descriptions of classified personnel?) has now blown up in his face is all kinds of sweet. But, it raises a serious question. If all it takes for him to go off the deep end like this is someone calling him a low-level hacker - that is, if his skin is this thin - just exactly how easy is he to manipulate? And was Snowden - motivated by ego, spotlight and revenge - manipulated by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and the gang to steal the information he later revealed? Was there more than just information falling into "journalists' " laps? I think you have to ask that question.
Even more importantly in terms of American national security, how much can we trust Snowden and Greenwald's statement that Snowden hasn't handed over a treasure trove of US intelligence documents to the Kremlin in exchange for his asylum and the chance to get famous by appearing on camera from Moscow? Any fair observer Snowden's interview with Brian Williams will notice that Snowden's self-centrism and egofest absolutely dominated the hour. The narcissistic self-adulation was creepy.
Snowden's followers like to tell us that the issue isn't Snowden. Well, Ed Snowden himself is doing a bang up job of making it about himself.
But I digress. After seeing how vulnurable Snowden's twisted psyche is to stoking and manipulation, the possibility that Snowden willingly revealed classified American secrets to the Russians only rises. Because the man will do anything for fame.
The questions of whether Snowden was pushed and goaded using his hunger for self-importance to steal national secrets and fame by those now claiming to be mere reporters and whether, or perhaps just how much, classified data Snowden handed over to Putin are serious questions that should be thrust into spotlight by Snowden's own behavior. It's time Snowden and Greenwald's blind followers took their blindfolds off and considered that - even if they like the "debate" his leaks have sparked.