It seems that Edward Snowden may be about to find out that traitors have a relatively short shelf life:
U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a “gift” to President Donald Trump — who has called the NSA leaker a “spy” and a “traitor” who deserves to be executed.
That’s according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.
The Russians have already wrung Snowden dry. His only useful purpose right now is to rub the US government’s nose in his duplicity by keeping him around and allowing his internet access. In the big chess game being played, Snowden is less a pawn than he is the rag used to wipe down the table the chess board is placed on.
The responses so far have been, well, interesting:
No, Teddy, you were never a spy. You were a tool.
The prize for most surreal comment goes to, naturally, a former Obama official:
Former deputy national security adviser Juan Zarate urged the Trump administration to be cautious in accepting any Snowden offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“For Russia, this would be a win-win. They’ve already extracted what they needed from Edward Snowden in terms of information and they’ve certainly used him to beat the United States over the head in terms of its surveillance and cyber activity,” Zarate said.
“It would signal warmer relations and some desire for greater cooperation with the new administration, but it would also no doubt stoke controversies and cases in the U.S. around the role of surveillance, the role of the U.S. intelligence community, and the future of privacy and civil liberties in an American context.
“All of that would perhaps be music to the ears of Putin.”
This is the kind of too-clever-by-half thinking that drove the Obama administration from one disaster to another. Accepting Snowden back brings no dangers and no obligations. As Snowden has already revealed to the world what he has stolen, there isn’t even the possibility of graymail. Snowden has been used until there is nothing left of value about him and now he’s about to be discarded in service of a larger objective. It is actually pretty simple.