From the moment I began researching Edward Snowden’s biography, there were hints that the NSA leaker was kind of … eccentric. Weird. Flaky.
A lot of computer geeks are kind of flaky, but Snowden’s flakiness is exacerbated by the fact that he dropped out of school in 10th grade and much of his education since then has been autodidactic. And it is this self-taught 29-year-old nerd who decided to leak top-secret information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program because … he’s a kook.
Snowden’s buddy Glenn Greenwald has decided to give him more rope to hang himself with, in the form of additional video interview excerpts, some of which have been transcribed by Mandy Nagy at Legal Insurrection. Snowden says he enlisted in the Army in 2003 because he “believed in the nobility of our intentions to free oppressed people overseas” — a kooky idea, as opposed to the sane idea of killing America’s enemies, which is what the Army does. Alas, the kooky idealist became disillusioned, about which he says:
“[O]ver time, over the length of my career, as I watched the news and I increasingly was exposed to true information that had not been propagandized in the media, that we were actually involved in misleading the public, and misleading all publics, not just the American public, in order to create a certain mindset in the global consciousness and I was actually a victim of that. … [T]he structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics.”
Questions: What “true information that had not been propagandized” is Snowden referring to? What “mindset in the global consciousness” was Snowden a victim of? How is “the freedom of all publics” being eroded by “structures of power”?
Go read Snowden’s description of the programs to which he objects, which he asserts target “the whole society by basically subverting a corporate partnership” and “how the U.S. government co-opts U.S. corporate power to its own ends.”
Look, I understand people being paranoid about the Obama administration and the potential for abuse, but the NSA has had advanced surveillance capabilities for decades and, so far as we know, they’re not snooping on your e-mails to Grandma or peeking in your windows with spy satellites. When a high-school dropout computer geek starts rambling about “global consciousness” and “corporate power,” it doesn’t cause me to worry about my Fourth Amendment privacy rights. It causes me to worry that the NSA is hiring kooks.