The New York Times on exiled former NSA contractor Edward Snowden being relatively pleased witnessing small victories while stuck abroad in Russia:
The fallout has been deeply satisfying to Mr. Snowden, who at first feared that his revelations might be ignored, said Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents him. But the debate about Mr. Snowden is far from over.
“His life is very, very rich and full,” Mr. Wizner said, eager to refute predictions by Mr. Snowden’s critics in 2013 that he would end up in bitter obscurity in Russia. “What a remarkable public citizen he’s become. How fitting that he has been able to use technology to defeat exile and participate in the debate he started.”
There are many satisfied people in the United States as well. Without much of what Snowden provided to journalists, the debate about NSA capabilities, specifically its spying on American communications in the United States, would never have happened.
Then there is this:
American intelligence officials tell a different story about the saga that began on May 20, 2013, the day Mr. Snowden flew to Hong Kong. Mr. Snowden’s decision to leak hundreds of thousands of highly classified N.S.A. documents to selected reporters still prompts fury from many in the Obama administration, who say his revelations taught terrorists and other adversaries how to dodge the agency’s eavesdropping. They note that his disclosures, some of which were printed in The New York Times, went far beyond the phone records collection, touching on many programs that target foreign countries and do not involve Americans’ privacy.
“The only debate we’re really having in the U.S. is about the very first document that Snowden produced,” said Stewart A. Baker, a former N.S.A. general counsel and outspoken critic of the leaks, referring to the secret court order authorizing the phone records program. “The rest of the documents have been used as a kind of intelligence porn for the rest of the world — ‘Oooh, look at what N.S.A. is doing.’ ”
In a new memoir, Michael J. Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the C.I.A., expresses the dark view of many intelligence veterans, even blaming Mr. Snowden’s leaks for empowering the Islamic State extremist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Color me surprised that the intelligence community portrays Snowden’s disclosures as the reason why ISIS is technically savvy. Its almost as if the NSA is claiming a small, relatively unfunded (in the context of NSA vs. ISIS) group of terrorists are out-witting, out-playing, and out-surviving the United States intelligence apparatus all because of information Edward Snowden leaked to the press.
If you believe that, I have some swamp-land in Arizona for sale…