Back in June 2013 when the Snowden scandal originally broke I had always intended to write something about it but I somehow just never got around to it. Watching Citizenfour last week reignited my interest in writing some of my own thoughts on the issue. I’m going to begin by stating my conclusion and working backwards from there. I believe that one or both of the following must be true:
- The claims made about the capabilities of western intelligence agencies, namely the NSA and the british GCHQ, are greatly exaggerated.
- The powers that be believe the Snowden leaks benefit their agenda and therefore allowed them to happen and probably even promoted their vast exposure in the mainstream media.
Whether or not Snowden is actually still knowingly working for some government agency I haven’t quite made up my mind on but I think that you can make a decent case that he is. I must first disclaim that I’m making the assumption that readers of this article are not so brain dead as to believe that mass surveillance is legal, moral or has any legitimate purpose and that they recognize mass surveillance is only useful as a Orwellian tool of oppression.
A mass surveillance apparatus is much more effective when it is known to exist than when it is secret. The purpose of mass surveillance is to oppress, to stifle free speech, freedom of association and even free independent thought. How would the surveilled recognize the need to censor themselves and temper their actions without the knowledge that they are they are being watched? Clearly if even a small percentage of citizens were to revolt simultaneously they could not be controlled, therefore the best use of mass surveillance is to frighten the general populace enough so that they never think, speak or write freely and so that they never organize with one another in the first place.
None of this is really news. OK, maybe Snowden gave us more details and leaked many “classified” documents but William Binney tried to warn the world about mass surveillance of American citizens more than a decade before Snowden did. Where were the dumbasses in the mainstream media on that one? Unless the elites were pulling their strings, why should the mainstream media cover Snowden so thoroughly without giving Binney his due? The fact that the US Government via the CIA manipulates the mainstream media is not up for debate. Maybe Snowden got his 15 minutes and Binney did not because the system wasn’t quite ready yet. Perhaps the infamous Utah data center is the lynchpin of the whole system and the NSA needed it to be completed or nearly completed before allowing any of this to be widely promoted.
NSA spying has foiled exactly zero terrorist plots. For a detailed account of just one of the many cases of incredible government incompetence in failing utilize the data available at their finger tips, watch Frontline’s recent investigative report on David Headley, a major player in the 2008 Mumbai bombings. This is not to be confused with all the terrorist plots the FBI orchestrates themselves and don’t forget the FBI had foreknowledge of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing but did nothing about it!
Why wouldn’t an omnipotent, all-knowing spy agency like the NSA be aware of the unauthorized, international travel plans of one of its contractors, particularly one that supposedly had top level security clearances? Are we supposed to believe that a spy agency that knows everything about everyone was not only incapable of keeping tabs on one of their own but was beat to the punch in unmasking of one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history by a couple of dipshit mainstream media reporters after they had more than three weeks to track him down including four full days after the leaks began? Really!?!? Would it have been that hard to run a cross reference on all the employees missing from work with those who had access to the leaked information and then to check out the travel records of any that matched this criteria? This is just to catch him after he skipped town, what about all the opportunities they must have had during the previous seven months while he was carrying on a dialog with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras?
Why would a 29 year old subcontractor have access to everything? In Citizenfour, Snowden claimed he had super duper top secret security clearance allowing him access to absolutely everything, way more than any normal employee might have, because he was a system administrator. I’m willing to grant that system administrators often get access to data well above what their pay grade might otherwise suggest but I would assume that it would be limited to the system he was actually working on. Are we to believe that Snowden was simultaneously working on every single system the NSA had?
In Citizenfour, Snowden seemed more like an actor playing a computer geek than an actual computer geek. I know I’m venturing way off into the field of conjecture and speculation but to me, Snowden’s camera presence was just too good for a real person not to mention one that is supposedly being hunted by the world’s most dangerous intelligence agencies at the time of filming. Other bits in the film such as Snowden covering his keyboard with a blanket right after admitting that it was highly likely the hotel room was bugged added to that “Hollywood production” feeling. Doesn’t a super spy computer expert like Snowden know that his password can be stolen with audio bugs alone? Not to mention, how many computer geeks do you know that have hot stripper girlfriends?
Call me a conspiracy theorist but I’m not taking the Snowden story at face value. I think there is more here than meets the eye. I don’t doubt that western governments have significant spying capabilities but I absolutely do not believe anything the mainstream media says without independent verification.