Smart Move: PRISM Whistleblower Outs Himself – UPDATED

A few days ago, Glenn Greenwald tweeted to this link. Go, read.

Perhaps it was just a joke, ala Catch-22: “pssss! they’re going to disappear him!”

And perhaps not.

And now the Whistleblower has outted himself, which I think is probably a very smart idea. Better off in plain sight:

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.”

Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

Read it all. Also, “I mistakenly believed Obama’s promises”.

Why’d he do it?

According to Howard Kurtz: Glenn Greenwald says surveillance source came to him because of “supine, subservient behavior” by American media “when it comes to the govt”

Duh. And, yeah. Our “watchdog**” media surrendered its teeth to this administration in 2007 and has been rolled over waiting for belly rubs ever since. They gave up all of their credibility to be able to ask Obama how he got so great, and what “enchants” him. They couldn’t even sustain their outrage about the DOJ spying on the AP, or calling James Rosen a criminal for doing his job.

Pant, pant, pant.

**I really want to say “leg-loving media”. But I’m trying to be ladylike.

Why the NSA wants all that Verizon Metadata and why they need it

Glenn Reynolds notes how interesting it is to watch the left-right divide erode. That’s someone’s worst nightmare, but whose?

UPDATE II A Look Back: Maxine Waters, in February of 2013, said “the President has put in place an organization that contains the kind of data base that noone has ever seen in life…. “That database will have information about everything on every individual, and they say it’s never been done before…” and that it’s all about “Organizing for America”…you know…one of those pesky 501(c)4′s.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • leelu

    Oh, go ahead. For some reason it seems more genteel than “butt-sniffing.”

  • Howard

    “And now the Whistleblower has outed himself, which I think is probably a very smart idea.” I think you’re right. This reminds me of Yeltsin crawling on top of that tank in 1991. It was a dangerous for him to be that exposed, yes, but it was probably less dangerous than any alternative he had.

  • Name ;-}

    “,,,Our “watchdog**” media surrendered its teeth to this administration in 2007 and has been rolled over waiting for belly rubs ever since. They gave up all of their credibility to be able to ask Obama how he got so great, and what “enchants” him…
    **I really want to say “leg-loving media”. But I’m trying to be ladylike.

    Pithy and extremely accurate, M’Lady. ;-}
    Finally, a “clean” way to describe the relationship between the Chicago Jesus and the Antique Media.

  • Dale

    The British press is famously aggressive when it comes to dealing with politicians, and I have heard Brits (well before Obama was president) marvel at how soft the American news media is when it comes to such things. It seems US reporters don’t want to jeopardize their relationships with
    those in power, because they don’t want to be cut out of the loop when
    inside information is being shared.

    As Glenn Greenwald said to Howard Kurtz today: “So much reporting in Washington consists of running to government
    sources, mindlessly repeating what they say after giving anonymity to
    ensure that they can say it with no accountability, and then simply
    disseminating it to the public.” And the press is known to sit on information, at the request of the government, most famously when the New York Times withheld a story in 2004 of how illegal wiretapping and eavesdropping against Americans was being done without court approval.

  • Old Spook

    Wrong. He’s dead. NSA/CIA/FBI will snuff him within 2 weeks. Major enemy of the State.

    It was stupid to out himself, as the propaganda machine now has a devil to excoriate and divert attention from the overarching surveillance machine.

  • David_Naas

    Sometimes you should remain above the fray in Olympian detachment, and other times you need to belly-flop into the mud and waller about with all the other hogs.

  • hotboogers

    Car crash.

  • Howard

    If this were a face-to-face discussion, I’d bet you a steak dinner you’re wrong. The “NSA/CIA/FBI” probably already knew who did it, and if they didn’t know already, they would have found out in a week or so. If they have no hesitation about snuffing him now, they would have had less when his fatal crash would have been just one more traffic delay on the Beltway, or when his accidental overdose of medication would have gone unnoticed and unreported. Finally, look at Julian Assange. He may be de facto imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but he was able to get diplomatic asylum from Ecuador *because* he was publicly known to be behind Wikileaks — and because the timing of the charges against him in Sweden were, shall we say, suspicious. If he had been known only to the CIA, he would be dead or worse.

  • Nan

    That’s why he’s in HongKong.

  • V,

    Be careful about jumping on this particular guy’s bandwagon too fast . . .

  • James Patton

    I am sure he will be reminded of the agreement that he signed very soon…

  • MeanLizzie

    I’m not on anyone’s bandwagon, yet. I think it’s too soon to call the guy a hero or — as Glenn Beck did tonight — start talking about him like he’s some sort of savior. I don’t even know if this whole thing isn’t elaborate theatre. But taking it on face value, I do think he’s safer “out” than “in.”

  • Chesire11

    Ummm…the MSM was house-trained looong before 2007. As I recall, the media were cheerleaders for the Bush administration march to war in Iraq – the single greatest policy disaster in American history. They buried stories from intel experts warning against spurious WMD claims and accusations of Iraqi complicity in the 9/11 attacks, and support for Al Qaeda, and anybody who dared to call bs on the constantly shifting, and consistently discredited justifications for war were smeared and marginalized.

    The MSM are little more than courtiers and sycophants for the party in power. It’s just more noticeable when it’s the other side that’s getting a pass.

  • Chesire11

    Incidentally, I found this to be an interesting timeline of the match toward, if not a police state, at least a surveillance state…

    I think this whole episode teaches a lesson that, when considering what powers are appropriate to the government, it’s best to consider if you would be comfortable granting those powers to your political opponents. If not, then it’s probably not very good for the country for either side to have them.

  • MeanLizzie

    Oh, right, the press rolled over for Bush, too ::::eyeroll:::: You should read my book. The intro talks about that very question: how much power do you want to give anyone, when you have no idea who is behind them, and how much of a role does idolatry play in our politics and our ideologies.

  • Victor

    I’m sure that this young man is doing the best that he can for what he believes is best for our reality human family and what more can he do NOW?

    This post kind of reminds me of a leaked story about the time when I worked on a railway during summer holidays and long story short, my entire family worked on the railway to survive and my mom and dad were so proud of my two year occupation high school course and what the hell, I couldn’t say no to the job dad had gotten for me so to work “I” went.

    Anyway the foreman must have thought that “I” was planning on sticking around so he tried to make me work faster. He yells out, “Move your “F!#$$.. Annoying Super Sinners if YA get my drift? The guy working next to me asked who he was talking to and I simply kept working and replied, “He’s certainly not talking to me” and long story short, those two men were at each other the rest of the day and I must spare YA all the language that they used in my presence.

    Longer story short, the next day, the foreman after speaking to the road master, thought me plenty.

    All “I’M” trying to say Anchoress is that “IT” is not the end of the world for this man, well not yet anyway.

    Go Figure! :)


  • Mark

    Yes, the media famously rolled over for Bush and was famously complicit in the build up to the Iraq War.

  • Chesire11

    Roll your eyes if you will, but even the NYT was on the “let’s kill us son Arabs” bandwagon in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. I will agree with you that candidate Obama got better press than did McCain. It’s tough to say whether he got better press than Romney for the simple fact that the Romney campaign was such a rolling disaster!

    I’m not excusing their coverage of Obama, I am, saying that (as in most enterprises) media cowardice in the face of power is the rule, courage is the exception.

  • valleys of neptune

    No, it’s not a left-right issue, it’s about those in power and those out of it. I do think many conservatives are outraged for opportunist reasons, and many leftists aren’t as outraged as they might be because it’s “their” side. But I consider the only suitable and decent reaction being to praise this person, be glad that there are still people who put their duty to the citizenry before themselves By all accounts, he prospered under the securocracy, but gave up all his advantages because he thought they were earned by legal means.

    I’m in Britain and I have seen the exact same thing with “laws” like the snoopers’ charter, people who loudly decried the extent of the securocracy suddenly discovering it’s not so bad. And leading members of the “opposition” have actually stated a willingness to vote with the government so as to make sure any opponents will be massively outvoted.

  • valleys of neptune

    They have tried telling me I am opposed to “freedom” because I don’t think corporations should be allowed to ride roughshod in their staff. But those who support individual liberty should waste no time in expressing their support for this Edward Snowden, whatever they think of their new allies’ stances on other issues.