As reported the other day, Snowden, the NSA leaker, left Hongkong for Russia. He hasn’t been seen since, so the general assumption is he is still in the terminal of the airport in Moscow.
The booking of an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba most likely was a ruse.
There are endless possibilities how the Russian government can handle it. Snowden doesn’t have a visa for Russia? Who cares. The government can always get around that.
Snowden could be on the way to another country already, using a fake name. Snowden could take residency in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Moscow, like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did in London. He could be given citizenship or asylum in Russia or Ecuador or even Cuba. He could be given diplomatic immunity. Endless possibilities.
Rest assured, the NSA knows what is going on, and where he is. The only thing the NSA regrets that it cannot hack into Snowden’s brain to compel him to surrender to the United States.
That would be something, wouldn’t it.
So what are the U.S.’s options?
A possible drone attack has been ruled out as too dangerous. To attack him while he is still in Russia would severely damage the diplomatic relations with Russia, not to speak of the U.S.’s state of reputation around the world. To attack him while he is on a plane is similarly problematic, as it would also fuel the rumors about the TWA 800 incident from 1996 – it’s investigation may be re-opened as there came some evidence to light, that the plane might have been shot down. Whether that is the case or not, it would further increase the mistrust of the U.S. government it it were to shoot down Snowden’s plane. So that is not an option either.
Now the United States tries to pressure, some would say bully, other countries to not let Snowden in or travel through. Given what kind of influence the U.S. has on some of these countries, it looks a little bit desperate.
This is an embarrassment for the United States. The pursuit of Snowden looks more bizarre ever since, considering that Snowden was actually doing the public a service by revealing the vast data gathering around the world under “full protection of the law” (in the U.S. as well as the UK), however violating civil rights and privacy. He is even accused of espionage using a World War I era law, even though we doubt there is any evidence he did reveal anything substantial to another government.
Especially the NSA is eager to point out the damage Snowden allegedly has done, even though Snowden revealed only what the NSA (and GCHQ) did, not how they did it.
What they are really doing is protecting their asses. Keep in mind that the intelligence gathering and analyzing is a multi billion dollar business. Since 9/11, the homeland security business has exploded, no matter of any budget constraints. If money was asked for in the name of national security, it was automatically approved without question. Similar to the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about in the 1950s, we now have a homeland-security-industrial complex.
We hear all the time that the surveillance and all that spying is “lawful”. But what kind of law is that?
Excuse us, we know the comparison is outrages, but nevertheless it reminds us of the fact that Hitler’s raise to power in the 1930s in Germany was “legal” by laws that he pushed through in the Reichstag. Not to speak of others laws the Nazis enacted during the Third Reich. That was an atrocious dictatorship, of course, so nothing further – the comparison ends right here.
Oh we almost forgot. There is another option available for the U.S. government. If the U.S. is really concerned about Snowden revealing to much to other governments, it should grant immunity. Snowden, we believe, would then be happy to return to the U.S.
This, however, is not about to happen. Instead the government and particularly some members of Congress appear rather to be interested in a witch hunt, which will deepen the rift between the government including Congress against the own people and the rest of the world. This witch hurts the national security more than Snowden would ever be able to do so by himself.
If the government and their allies, which includes some media outlets, are really worried about national security, they should stop this witch hunt, because the longer it lasts, the worse it is going to be.