Though I too was once reviled by the U.S. intelligence community as a faithless leaker and turncoat, Edward Snowden and I don’t have much else in common.
In fact, I have written skeptically of the former NSA/CIA contractor who stole boatloads of U.S. secrets, many unrelated to his stated concern about the privacy of U.S. citizens—and then leaked them to the universe under the guise of defending our 4th Amendment rights against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
My gripes about Snowden have been fairly well publicized. And he and his supporters are likely aware of them.
So I was somewhat surprised when I discovered several weeks ago that Snowden has resurrected an old news clip from my whistleblowing days, annotated it with some positive if calculated messaging, and flung it across the Twitter sphere.
CIA Author Points to U.S. Supreme Court Precedent
By Frank Snepp, January 8, 2015
A recent “exclusive” from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Edward Snowden’s producer, who helped turn his secrets-bust into an Oscar-contending documentary, could be facing a financial bust for her trouble.
Laura Poitras, Film director
A newly filed lawsuit alleges that Laura Poitras and her production associates are guilty of helping the former NSA contractor breach his fiduciary obligations to the government.
If they lose, they could be obliged to forfeit all profits from “Citizenfour,” the documentary they filmed about Snowden and his decision to expose some of the NSA’s most sensitive classified information.
Kansas attorney Jean Lamfers filed the suit on behalf of a former government worker who argues that Snowden and his collaborators should not be allowed to profit from his leaks. The plaintiff, Horace Edwards, who insists he is acting for the public, seeks to have a “constructive trust” imposed on the profits that would cause them to be turned over to the government.
By Frank Snepp – Posted April 13, 2014
Luke Harding’s new book, “The Snowden Files,” shamelessly recycles many of the Top Secret NSA revelations first reported in his own newspaper, the Guardian, by Glenn Greenwald, his former colleague and Ed Snowden’s favorite press contact.
Harding rushed his twice-told tale into print last February in an apparent effort to gain a march on Greenwald who is preparing to publish his own Snowden tell-all a few weeks from now.
Besides stealing part of Greenwald’s own stolen thunder, the Harding tome serves to remind us there is no honor among thieves, especially when they’re vying to cash in on the biggest secrets heist in the history of U.S. intelligence.
Not that Greenwald suffered pre-emption easily. On February 10, he tried to nudge “Files” out of the headlines by planting a new Snowden bombshell on an “investigative” website he’d just launched with the Nation’s Jeremy Scahill and freelancer Laura Poitras.
That web exclusive – co-authored by Scahill – dealt with NSA’s alleged involvement in U.S. assassination plots. Never mind that the essence of the story had been surfaced months before by The Washington Post, in two reports based on Snowden documents in its possession. Greenwald apparently has no reservations about beating a dead horse if it will help him preserve his monopoly of the lucrative Snowden franchise.
He and Poitras staked a claim to this money machine last June when Snowden met with them and another Guardian reporter in Hong Kong and handed them most if not all of the secrets he’d lifted from his former employer, the NSA. Greenwald then worked with Harding and others at the newspaper to make the most of this bonanza. The Guardian owned a good chunk of the Snowden story until Greenwald quit in October, taking the leaker’s remaining stash with him for use on the new website, as if it were now his property.
Harding’s book may well be the Guardian’s way of sticking it to the guy who heisted the heist.
“Edward Snowden’s Weasel Ways”
By Frank Snepp, January 31, 2014
Granting Edward Snowden clemency, as many have urged, would send a terrible message to other potential whistle-blowers. Yes, he may have sparked an important national privacy debate, but he did so through reprehensible actions that harmed national security.
If that’s a harsh verdict, I have earned the right to it. In terms of sheer media hype, I was the Snowden of my day, a disaffected ex-spy who, in the late 1970s and early ’80s, rocked the security community by publishing a memoir about intelligence failures I’d witnessed as a CIA officer during the last years of the Vietnam War. I did so only after the agency backhanded my repeated requests for an in-house review of our mistakes and refused to help me or anyone else rescue Vietnamese allies abandoned during the evacuation of Saigon.
“No Integrity Award, No Pardon for Edward Snowden”
By Frank Snepp (Posted January 2, 2014)
When I read recently that a group of CIA whistleblowers had traveled to Moscow to present Edward Snowden with their annual “integrity” award – his first public trophy for binge-leaking — I could only marvel at their audacity. The award is dedicated to the memory of the late, great CIA whistleblower Sam Adams and is supposedly reserved for insurgents of similar character. The current nominee doesn’t come close. The same reformist lobby is now invoking Sam’s name as part of an equally ill-considered campaign to win a Presidential pardon for Snowden, and The New York Times has recently seconded this appeal. If Sam were alive to pass judgment on it, he would give it a resolute thumbs down.
I know this with an insider’s certainty. Not only were Sam and I close colleagues in the CIA; we followed the same unwritten rulebook in exposing the wrongs and failings of our own spymasters, and suffered massive recriminations without turning tail. The last person either of us would embrace as a spiritual comrade is the mercurial young flight risk from the NSA.