Few American defectors to Moscow ever return home—most fade away in a haze of vodka and regret
I’ve closely followed the saga of Edward Snowden from the moment the former CIA and NSA IT contractor grabbed the global limelight with both hands back on June 12, 2013 by appearing in the Chinese media, exposing American government secrets on a scale nobody had ever done before.
I insisted from the outset that Snowden was not the whistleblower he claimed to be, rather an attention-seeking narcissist, and that certainly once he landed in Moscow on June 23, 2013—and quite possibly before—he was in bed with Russian intelligence. Moreover, Snowden’s 1.5 million stolen documents were nearly all about NSA foreign intelligence and Pentagon military matters—not domestic surveillance. In short, the Snowden saga as presented to the public by Ed and his media enablers was a fantasy.
Now, more than three years later, my position—which garnered me criticism and epic amounts of social media trolling—has been vindicated by several sources, including the U.S. Congress. Oliver Stone’s apologia-as-film about Snowden has just opened, to decidedly mixed reviews, and its premiere has been marred by the overdue intrusion of reality on this Moscow fable. Stone has a long history of making “truthy” movies based on Kremlin propaganda, and his latest sticks with that dubious pattern.
I’ve taken the Snowden debacle personally, in no small part because when I worked in NSA counterintelligence, it was obvious that something like Snowden was bound to happen. By ignoring basic security, by outsourcing core missions to greedy defense contractors, by allowing the security clearance process to fall apart—and above all by oversharing sensitive information with people who had no “need to know” as the spies say—NSA and our whole Intelligence Community created the circumstances that made Snowden possible.
Read the rest at The Observer …