David Corn of Mother Jones has a pretty damning story on Trump's affinity for, if not allegiance to, the Russian government and Vladimir Putin. Quoting a former intelligence agent who vetted Trump for a third party organization, Corn writes:
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer's conversations with Russian sources, noted, "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance."
Five years. That's the number that got me thinking: what is the other big story involving the intelligence community and Russia that has taken place in the past five years?
That's right, the Edward Snowden saga that once appeared to have been the actions of one rogue traitor who enlisted the help of Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald.
The timelines align. In December 2012, Snowden contacted Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, and curiously within four months in March 2013 had left his job at the CIA to take a position with a contractor with the specific and admitted intent of stealing classified documents. Around this period, a front group to defend Snowden's future fugitive status would also be born with little knowledge of Greenwald's or Snowden's fans. Soon thereafter, as we learn from recent history, Snowden would flee, first arriving at Hong Kong, then landing in Moscow suposedly en route to Cuba, but never leave Mother Russia to date. In the intervening period, the leader of Wikileaks, the most serious facilitator of Snowden's leaks, would take shelter in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in order to escape charges of rape and sexual assault (hmm, that reminds me of someone).
As we have repeatedly pointed out on TPV, Edwards Snowden had ascribed to the politics of Donald Trump since at least late last decade. He was Trump before Trump was cool - with a full plate of gun-nut, anti-government, anti-social compact rhetoric and demand that anyone leaking information against a right-wing administration be shot in the balls.
I digress. The Snowden leaks, Greenwald's rise to international fame, Wikileaks' dominant role as Snowden's conduit and Russian protective cover for Snowden seemed to all have happened around the same time that Russia, according to Corn's reporting, was busy "cultivating" Donald Trump.
Fast forward to now, and Wikileaks is once again rising to fame by releasing information acquired by Russian state hackers in order to, at the very least, disrupt the American electoral process and to the benefit of Donald Trump. Trump's former campaign head is in the mean time just one Trump confidant under investigation for his ties to the Russian government and banks, and Harry Reid has dropped a bombshell in his letter to FBI Director Comey that the connections between Trump's close circle and Putin's are deep.
This may be all circumstantial, but allow me to recap the timeline:
- Wikileaks rises to fame because Snowden dumped in their - and Glenn Greenwald's - laps documents he stole the US government.
- Snowden takes refuge in Russia.
- Russian government hackers gained access to and stole sensitive information from DNC and other US political institutions.
- Putin and the Russian government then dump that information in the laps of... you guessed it... Wikileaks.
- Wikileaks, Russian propaganda channel RT, and (you guessed it) Glenn Greenwald gleefully release, report, and defend this espionage.
Whether Snowden was in Kremlin's plans to begin with or Putin simply made the best use of him once he got stuck in Moscow, it doesn't change the fact that Vladimir Putin is not housing a US fugitive for humanitarian reasons.
The questions then have to be asked. How are Russia's cultivation of Donald Trump and their nurturing of the Snowden cult related? To what extent, if any, was Russian hacking operations helped by Edward Snowden himself as a favor to his newfound Fatherland? And was Edward Snowden's asylum in Russia always a foregone conclusion, contrary to what the Russians had stated at the time?
And last but not least, to what extent is Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and Donald Trump and his presidential campaign all birds of a feather, that is, all Putin's puppets?