Posted on | June 16, 2013 | 59 Comments
Edward Snowden as a 22-year-old übergeek
“I woke this morning with a new name. I had had a vision. A dream vision. A vision righteous and true. . . .
“You’ve felt it, known it, recognized it.
“Now realize it.
“I woke this morning with a new name. That name is Wolfking.
– Edward Snowden (“The TrueHOOHA”), June 12. 2008
Can we trust Edward Snowden? If the National Security Agency could not trust him to keep the secrets he was paid so handsomely to keep, why should we trust his description of what the NSA does? This is a question that troubles Kevin Drum of Mother Jones:
I want to know how far I can trust Edward Snowden. He’s supposed to be a technical guru of some sort, but apparently he didn’t understand this. Or, if he did, he didn’t bother clearing it up for either Glenn Greenwald or Bart Gellman, who both went with the “direct access” phrase in their initial stories. If it’s the former, I wonder just how much he actually knows about NSA’s capabilities. If it’s the latter, I wonder about his motivations. …
Snowden has made several other dubious statements, including the suggestion that he could order a wiretap on anyone he wanted, and that he had access to any CIA station. Put this all together, and I think it’s reasonable to ask just how much we can trust what Snowden is saying.
Understand that Kevin Drum is a lefty who very much wants to believe the worst of the American Military-Industrial Complex, and yet he’s honest enough with his readers to admit that key details of Snowden’s story don’t seem to check out as verifiable facts.
My early doubts about Snowden’s reliability have only been exacerbated by revelations over the past few days that expose Snowden as a certain type of punk: He feels no loyalty to anyone or anything, except himself, and yet imagines his narrow selfishness as a heroic quality: “Behold, my courageous commitment to an ideological abstraction that is incomprehensible to inferior mortals!”
Snowden’s capacity for self-dramatizing heroism is evident to anyone who carefully reads the lengthy profiles in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and I continue to insist that the real scandal here is that a clown like this could get security clearance. If I understand the timeline of Snowden’s career correctly, he wrote his bizarre “Wolfking Awesomefox” rant while he was posted in Geneva, Switzerland, as a CIA technician under diplomatic cover.
Great Caesar’s Ghost! We’ve entrusted our national security to creepy little weirdos who have nothing better to do in their spare time than hang out in online forums talking about videogames?
The resemblance between Edward Snowden and any number of misfit psychopaths who come to mind — from Lee Harvey Oswald to Dylan Klebold to Jared Loughner — ought to be obvious enough. Yet our security agencies were so hungry for computer talent that nobody thought, “Hey, maybe we ought to keep an eye out for kooks”? And nobody bothered to make sure these geeks weren’t sneaking out the door with top-secret data on their thumb drives?
He was a teenage aficionado of role-playing video games and Japanese anime cartoons who dropped out of high school and turned his avid interest in computer technology into a career that paid him more than $100,000 a year before he turned 30, living every nerd’s dream with a beautiful girlfriend and a job in the tropical paradise of Hawaii.
For all his success, however, Edward Snowden harbored profound doubts about the world into which his skills had brought him. Snowden worked as a contractor on powerful top-secret information systems that sorted through data for the U.S. government, in what officials describe as a vital program to prevent terrorist attacks, but which Snowden and others say was an unconstitutional intrusion on the privacy of American citizens. . . .
Read the whole thing at Viral Read. Say what you want about surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, but I just don’t trust this guy.