How did Edward Snowden so carefully thread the needle to download a massive trove of highly secret documents from across the NSA and intelligence networks without detection?

How did he know exactly which job to go after in Hawaii to give him that access, and how was his escape so neatly orchestrated that he ends up first in Chinese controlled Hong Kong with its difficult extradition rules, and then on to Vladimir Putin’s arms?

Those are questions which have troubled me since the start of this drama, when I asked whether this all was just a Snowden job?

Was exposing issues about our privacy the goal, or the cover story for foreign espionage? How better to cause havoc in our intelligence services than to steal the crown jewels and create political turmoil because the U.S. does what every other major nation does — only better.

I still have my doubts as to what this all is really about:

As events have unfolded, I’ve been hesitant to focus on motivations and agenda, because undoubtedly there is some good coming out.

We’re more conscious of the totality of information gathered by government, the weak oversight, and the potential for abuse. As a small government type, these disclosures are useful as to the threat posed by unaccountable big government. Among other things, the Snowden affair is a stark warning as to the danger the gathering of private medical information under Obamacare poses not just from the government itself, but from leakers. Imagine some HHS employee pulling a Snowden with your medical information.

Nonetheless, I’ve been uncomfortable how this has gone down. We shouldn’t be kowtowed into silence just because some of the consequences of this espionage and theft are good from a privacy perspective….

As to Snowden, it still all seems too easy and too convenient. He just happened to know exactly which job and in what manner to scoop up so much sensitive information that the NSA apparently can’t even figure out what he took. He didn’t just take advantage of a position he held, he maneuvered himself into the position he needed to be in. That’s not the usual whistleblower scenario.

In that context, here is Congressman Mike Rogers today on Meet the Press, via PJ Tatler (h/t Instapundit):

In a jaw-dropping revelation on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) has stated that he believes the fugitive Edward Snowden had assistance from Russian spies when he stole vast amounts of sensitive U.S. security data and fled to Russia.

Rogers told MTP host David Gregory: “Let me just say this: I believe there’s a reason he [Snowden] ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB [successor to the KGB] agent in Moscow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.” Rogers added that some of the methods Snowden used in lifting National Security Agency secrets were “beyond his technical capabilities.”

[Gospodin is the transliteration of the Russian for “Mister“)


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