It seems that nothing is ever as it seems.
It may be that Edward Snowden is what he seems to be — an Obama-supporter who, despite barely gaining a GED, managed to work his way into sensitive technical positions at the CIA, NSA and private contractors, and then became disillusioned that abuse of individual privacy he witnessed under the Bush administration was not cured and if anything worsened under Obama, and who, despite four years of Obama-rule in which to leak embarrassing documents, waited until late May 2013 in which to take and then dump on Glenn Greenwald a treasure trove of seemingly embarrassing documents which allegedly show a massive data-mining operation and desire to control all the world’s information.
Or, it may be that this is all too perfect, that the criminally leaked documents have been misconstrued by journalists with agendas and that the programs at issue previously were disclosed at least in generalities and have safeguards built in, but none of that matters because the leaks come precisely at a time when the Chinese government has come under increasingly distressed complaints by U.S. industry and government over cyber-espionage and on the eve of a trip to the U.S. by Chinese President Xi Jinping at which Obama was expected to make cyber-espionage a central issue, thereby emasculating complaints about Chinese activities.
It may be that Snowden fled to Hong Kong because, as he asserts, it protects free speech, or it may be that he fled there because he easily could slip into mainland China, which itself does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and which, in any event, has veto power over Hong Kong’s exercise of its extradition treaty with the U.S., or at a minimum, makes a “rendering” conducted on sovereign Chinese soil unlikely.
All I’m saying is that this whole thing may be exactly as it seems. I just don’t know what it seems to be.
I will reserve judgment until more facts are known about Snowden, and what he actually revealed.
Update 11:15 p.m.: Well, you don’t say. Former CIA Officer: Officials Considering NSA Whistleblower’s Case ‘Potential Chinese Espionage’:
Former CIA case officer Bob Baer revealed on CNN Sunday evening that intelligence officials were possibly considering Edward Snowden’s case as Chinese espionage, after Snowden came forward this afternoon from an undisclosed Hong Kong location.
“Hong Kong is controlled by Chinese intelligence,” Baer said. “It’s not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case.”
“On the face of it, it looks like it is under some sort of Chinese control, especially with the president meeting the premier today,” Baer said. “You have to ask what’s going on. China is not a friendly country and every aspect of that country is controlled. So why Hong Kong? Why didn’t he go to Sweden? Or, if he really wanted to make a statement, he should have done it on Capitol Hill.” ….
“We’ll never get him in China,” Baer said. “They’re not about to send him to the United States and the CIA is not going to render him, as he said in the tape, is not going to try to grab him there.”
“It almost seems to me that this was a pointed affront to the United States on the day the president is meeting the Chinese leader,” Baer said, “telling us, listen, quit complaining about espionage and getting on the internet and our hacking. You are doing the same thing.”