NYT profiles NSA leaker Edward Snowden

A lengthy profile in the New York Times of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who recently leaked information about the agency's secret domestic spying program, paints the young man as an self-driven but drifting autodidact.
From Mr. Snowden’s friends and his own voluminous Web postings emerges a portrait of a talented young man who did not finish high school but bragged online that employers “fight over me.”...“Great minds do not need a university to make them any more credible: they get what they need and quietly blaze their trails into history,” he wrote online at age 20.


    1. I’m not seeing that.  They’ve chosen to cherry-pick from a huge reservoir of material.  It’s a bit cocky, sure, but he was a 20 year old American boy (not excusing it, but it’s not unusual).  For someone that has accomplished all that he had, he could have been a monster of arrogance.

      1. The NYT is obsessed with setting the terms of discussion for the future. They have been left out of this story pretty much every step of the way, so they’ve been employed to help the gov’t get out in front of it. “Hey, let me tell you what’s really going on.”

  1. I’m seeing postage stamps for these guys in the near future. Snowden, Manning, Assange, high denominations, too. Saints of The Postal Service. 

    1. Especially since snail mail is apparently the only communication they aren’t monitoring, so this could drive people off email and back to the post office.

  2. I’ve known less intelligent folk to think more of themselves, so, meh. I think he’s brilliant, if not only for hiding behind the big kid on the playground who is owed a lot of money by the mean scrawny kid chasing him.

  3. The thing that bothers me is all the people calling him a high school dropout. He did drop out, but then got his GED and went to community college. Why don’t they call him a college dropout instead? That would be a more accurate statement, but less useful to smear him with.

    1. i read it differently. “successful, self-educated high school dropout” is basically high honors in american pop culture. dropping out of high school is an act of rebellion. dropping out of college, since it’s (theoretically) voluntary, is seen as more of a failing. unless you get rich, of course. then you’re an unrecognized genius.

      and people say that america is anti-intellectual…

      1. He dropped out of college, just like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and other losers. He should have stayed on and graduated college, like David Addington, Robert McNamara, and Barack Obama did.

  4. Any of these ‘anatomy of a leaker’ articles and discussions serve their main purpose – to get us to stop talking about the leaks and start talking about the person.

    It worked on Assange (he didn’t help).  It was tried on Ellsberg, and many others.  If you don’t like the message, attack the messenger.

    1. It’s on page 12-B of the “How to Smear a Whistleblower” handbook, used by the establishment everywhere.

    1.  When the restricted information is in itself a crime, the issue becomes murky.

      People with a commitment to the rule of law and the constitution are told to keep quiet about the mockery of both.  And then if they speak out, they are criminals.

      Nothing that Snowden has released endangers anything.  I have no doubt that halfway competent enemies of the state operate on the assumption that Prism exists.  The rest of the population (the innocent majority) were, until the truth was revealed, operating on the assumption that the NSA and their own government(s) were not overreaching.

      The only thing Snowden has done is pull aside the curtain and show the citizens of the US that their government holds them in contempt and sees them, 100% of them, as criminals.  If revealing that is against the law, then the law is an ass.

      1. It’s interesting how people of an authoritarian mindset choose to see this as a black and white issue. Even more interesting is their willingness to hold the whistleblower to a standard that they never seem to require of the officialdom which creates the need for the whistle to be blown.

        The idea that the bureaucracy of secrecy welcomes, or even creates the conditions for whistle blowing to occur, is never the case. All bureaucracy is self-protective, from the Catholic Church, to the military, to the most mundane governmental agency, and most especially the shadowy world of the NSA and the CIA. 

        Working in secret with the idea that they are free from outside scrutiny, creates the perfect conditions for overreach. No doubt there are many principled people who are doing their very best, but without true oversight the system does not allow for the prevention of abuse. 

        When the public is not even allowed to see the legal opinions which are used to justify the interpretations of the secrecy laws, how can we possibly trust that they are following the law?  When “state secrets” is invoked to protect those secret interpretations from judicial review, it is obvious that the only recourse is for someone from the inside to step forward in a public way.   

      1.  I doubt he does.  His post strikes me more as the classic authoritarian mindset faced with massive cognitive dissonance.

        When in doubt, fall back on simple black and white logic, in defiance of all reason.  Even if it means looking stupid.

        1. Well, it seems apparent that he’s a coward, but whether he’s the kind who is paid with tax dollars remains to be seen.

  5. I have an idea! Lets focus on the messenger and not the message. That’s a good idea right?
    And, if the message is scary, let’s alternately attack and defend the messenger. Whatever we do, let’s not pay attention to the message.

  6. I hope someone is studying and collating all the data that flows through the network. It is a huge opportunity to learn something. To not do it will seem insane to the generations that follow us. 

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