The biggest news of the day is the confirmation by the South China Morning Post that Edward Snowden went after the NSA job with the express purpose of accessing and leaking US security secrets. He has gone from "whistleblower"—which he never was—to pretty much of a spy and traitor.

Now he's holed up in Russia, where it's quite certain that the FSB is pumping him dry, at least as dry as Chinese intelligence did. And his whirlwind tour of quasi-democracies and outright dictatorships puts paid to the idea that he's a starry-eyed defender of democratic ideals.

But this real-time John Le Carre novel begs several questions:
  • How did Snowden get by background screening to get a job at Booz Allen?
  • How did Snowden even get past screening with his paltry CV?
  • Why did Booz Allen contract him for sensitive intelligence work?
  • What political strings were pulled to get Snowden that job, and who pulled them.
  • Who benefits from secrets being spilled to the Chinese and Russians?
  • Who's the patsy? Snowden? Greenwald? Or are they both quite aware of what they did?
We're going to be entering the looking glass on this one. If this is in fact an attempt to somehow hurt or even bring down the Obama administration, it's at best a ham-handed affair, and at worst gives the president the opportunity to once more burnish his national security bona fides. High school dropouts with spurious claims of having taken "computer courses" do not—or at least should not—gain access to the keys of the security kingdom. 

I'm not a conspiracy theorist; usually the simplest explanation is the right one. And I'm not going to speculate on these still-developing events with my theories. To be frank, I have none, just questions. But the fallout of this escapade will last all summer. I'm quite curious to see how this plays out, and how the administration works to bring Snowden and any accomplices / enablers to justice.

This is your "spy who came in from the cold" open thread.

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