Snowden indicts America in Vanity Fair

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.15.27 AM

Edward Snowden is living comfortably in Moscow and holding court with whosoever will listen.  Vanity Fair is publishing a 20,000 word exclusive story titled “The Snowden Saga”.

In the online preview to the article, VF posted a selection of Snowden quotes that read like the ongoing justification for his actions.

Snowden has been holding court and putting America and its intelligence policies on trial.  It should be the reverse: America should be holding court with Snowden on trial.

I don’t agree with the blanket and universal snooping and data collection in which the NSA has been engaging.  I think it’s dangerous for many reasons, the most disturbing of which is the temptation to use the data for political purposes.

There should be no illusion here:  any society that has the technical capability to offer universal, personal, and mobile access to the largest collection of human knowledge in history, has the capability to track who, where, and what is accessed.

In the early days of the Internet, I ran an internet service provider, offering local dial-up service.  We knew (if we wanted to) who was dialed in, and what they were looking at.  There was no privacy—simply our agreement with our customers that we wouldn’t share what we knew with the public.  When necessary, we did share it with law enforcement.  We should be surprised two decades later that the government can, on its own, gather this data?

Snowden simply confirmed what everyone knew.  Angela Merkel was shocked—shocked—that the US was spying on her cell conversations.  I am pretty sure that Germany, where high-tech conglomerate Siemens is based, spies on everything it can.

VF quotes Snowden indicting America:

“What we’re seeing today in America is a new political movement that crosses party lines. This post-terror generation rejects the idea that we have to burn down our village in order to save it—that the only way to defend the Constitution is to tear it up.”

The irony here is so thick that I’m choking on it.

Sitting in Russia, which would have hunted him down and killed him before he was able to set foot in a “neutral” country, Snowden blithely speaks of defending the Constitution.


Yes, and Benedict Arnold was defending the Revolution from London, collecting his Crown pension.

Betrayal is betrayal.  If Snowden really wanted his story and his convictions to resonate, he would come back to the USA and stand trial.  He would sit in a prison cell in America, until society caught up with his enlightened politics.  Then, pardoned, he could emerge a national hero.

I think, in his dreams, he sees himself this way, but lacks the courage to stand up for his convictions (no pun intended).

And Vanity Fair, that fortress of hard-hitting political investigative journalism, is buying in—or cashing in—on Snowden’s infamy, turning it into a “saga” of a man and his convictions.

A country where such things are commonplace has itself become a post-conviction generation, where nobody stands up for anything, and everything becomes about the story, the drama, and the money.  We are entertaining ourselves into stupefaction and banal apathy.

Mr. Snowden, do the decent thing and come home, have your day in court, have your say, and take the punishment.  You will thank yourself, and America will thank you for it.