Snowden

The Snowden Puzzle

Published at almost the same time as Edward Lucas’s ebook, Catherine A. Fitzpatrick’s full-length (200+pp) study of the Snowden case – Privacy for Thee and Not For Me: The Movement for Invincible Personal Encryption, Radical State Transparency, and the Snowden Hack – is now available on Scribd.

In her author’s preface, Fitzpatrick likens the case to a Rubik’s cube:

Turn the colorful cube one way, and it seems as if Edward, a 29-year-old systems analyst who said he became troubled by secret practices “done in our name”, was only concerned about civil rights… Turned in another direction, and it seemed that his coercive action… was in fact presenting Congress and the courts with an undemocratic fait accompli.

Although the author does not claim to provide a solution to the puzzle, her book analyses its many and various pieces in extensively sourced detail, so that others may reach a conclusion for themselves.

The Snowden Disaster

Edward Lucas’s newly published ebook The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster is available from Amazon as a Kindle Single. It gives a clear and concise all-round survey of the Snowden affair, setting it in the historical context of international espionage. In particular, it analyses the particular characteristics of Snowden’s disclosures, which the author says

are heavily spun and damaging to American and allied interests in a way that goes far beyond the purported goals of promoting a debate about digital security.

The Security Trap

Craig Pirrong recently wrote in a post to his Streetwise Professor blog that he wondered why British journalist Edward Lucas, otherwise known for his criticism of Putin and warnings about post-Soviet Russia, was so pro-Snowden. Lucas, Pirrong said, 

has taken a very benign – to say the least – line on Snowden, Poitras, Greenwald, etc. Indeed, the publication has been broadly sympathetic with the Snowden-as-whistleblower meme, and quite uncurious about Poitras and Greenwald.  Lucas has expressed similar views on his Twitter timeline.  Yes, often in RTs and MTs which he will no doubt claim do not represent an endorsement, but given the obvious tilt in what he RTs, and the correlation with the Economist’s editorial line, it’s clear where his sentiments lie.

Understandably, Lucas wrote back in correction: not only was he not “pro-Snowden” – he had even written an article criticizing Snowden in European Voice.

I wrote in a comment:

I’ve followed Edward Lucas’s writings for many years, and particularly admire the forthright stance he has taken on support for the aims and aspirations of the Baltic States in the aftermath of the fall of Communism. In the present instance, regarding Snowden and the NSA leaks, I suspect that his allegiances may be torn, and that in the activities of the NSA he fears a lapse into practices more typical of the KGB than of Western power institutions. After all, the possibility that some collusion between Western and Russian security agencies may have taken place during the curiously-named “war on terror” is not to be excluded, particularly when the former senior director for Russia on the U.S. National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007 can make such enigmatic statements as the following:

“Russia is not the Soviet Union; it offers no compelling ideological alternative, nor is it about to invent one.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/opinion/global/the-drive-to-blame-russia.html?_r=0

The Technorevolutionaries – 2

Links:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/louisemensch/100231784/david-miranda-detention-why-i-believe-the-guardian-has-smeared-britains-security-services/

But you know, why is the New York Times breaking the story that Miranda was transporting stolen intelligence data, stolen by Snowden? Why wouldn’t our fearless truth-seekers at the Guardian let Britain know what David Miranda was really doing?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2398470/STEPHEN-GLOVER-That-airport-arrest-troubles-But-Guardians-murky-waters-love-country-venture.html

If the Guardian is employing at least one reporter driven by revenge to damage this country, hasn’t the time come for the paper to review this connection with Edward Snowden? Hasn’t this whole thing got out of hand?

http://thedailybanter.com/2013/08/the-guardians-computer-smash-up-story-grows-increasingly-bizarre-ridiculous/

As the hours tick away, this whole computer caper is appearing more and more like that time when Morton Downey Jr., with his ratings in decline, staged an assault in which he shaved his own head and drew several badly rendered swastikas on his body with a Sharpie. It’s getting to be just that silly. And it would be equally entertaining to observe if it wasn’t orbiting such a deadly serious topic.

http://3dblogger.typepad.com/wired_state/2013/08/a-family-of-monkeys-raids-the-banana-trees-and-engages-in-shrieking-battles-with-dogs-.html

I had noted before that Snowden’s entire digital footprint seems to drop off in 2009. You just don’t see him post or do things from then until he posts his PGP key and starts his life as a defector. But in fact there are a few posts on Ars Technica — like once or twice a year in 2010, 2011, 2012.

 

Menendez: Russia Must Return Snowden

Robert Menendez, chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Edward Snowden is a fugitive who belongs in a United States courtroom, not a free man deserving of asylum in Russia.

Regardless of the fact that Russia is granting asylum for one year, this action is a setback to US-Russia relations.

Edward Snowden will potentially do great damage to US national security interests and the information he is leaking could aid terrorists and others around the world who want to do real harm to our country.

Russia must return Snowden to face trial at home.

Cyberwarfare and Propaganda

At Wired State, Catherine Fitzpatrick has compiled a detailed timeline that highlights the deep interrelation of events surrounding the WikiLeaks state security-breaking campaign, the Snowden affair and the involvement of the Russian government and intelligence services in both. As she points out, there is a clear mutual, though not necessarily causal connection between

Kremlin TV’s propagandistic celebration of US hackers in Anonymous; WikiLeaks and Occupy; Russia’s own crackdown on Internet freedom and “foreign agents” at home (mirroring its one-time championing of Western peace movements by the Soviet government even as it jailed pacifists at home).

Fitzpatrick also notes that

America has enemies from both domestic and foreign non-state and foreign state actors, some of whom show signs of collusion with each other; they are succeeding to alarming degrees; the pushback against them causes new backlashes and enables enemies to portray the US as “oppressive” and distract from the greater oppression of Russia, China, Iran and other authoritarian states…