He says he may publish stuff that’s in “the public interest,” but that means basically anything and everything he has, right? By “public interest” I take it he means the global public interest, which includes whatever America’s doing to spy on other nations. Presumably he’d say that everything he’s leaked so far, be it the news of NSA hacking computers in China or intercepting Medvedev’s communications at the G20, meets the Edward Snowden definition of “public interest.” He’s a hero, and heroes are all about serving the public.
And even if he strays from his public service M.O., what do he and his supporters care? I keep making this point but it bears repeating because it’s a de facto license to wreak havoc: If you challenge a true-blue Snowden apologist on why he’s leaking stuff that has nothing to do with Americans’ civil liberties and everything to do with old-fashioned espionage between states, which tends to undermine their Greatest American Hero narrative, they reply that he’s just doing what he needs to do to survive. This is all the government’s fault for chasing him; now that the feds are all in, the Greatest American Hero has no choice but to rig some sort of intelligence doomsday device and give up all sorts of secrets if they finally grab him. I wonder how far he can go and retain his supporters’ admiration. If Russia extracts info on the names and locations of U.S. spies in the field from Snowden’s hard drives, even if it’s against his will, is all forgiven because the feds left him no choice but to flee to Putin’s fascist kingdom?
Glenn Greenwald thinks he’s an unvarnished hero, at least, and he’s the final moral authority, so that’s good enough for me.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden said in an undated Spanish-language letter sent to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, seen by Reuters.
“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank,” part of the text read, according to a translation…
“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression,” he wrote.
Speaking of Greenwald, here’s his footnote to Snowden’s threat to leak more:
I didn’t say Snowden couldn’t leak more documents if he wanted to. Obviously, he can do so if he’s inclined. That’s obvious.
What I said is that he’s not doling out documents to us in drips & drabs. He gave us all the documents he provided to us weeks ago. That process is done. And we – not he – are the one deciding which of those gets published and which don’t, and in what order. That’s what this meant: “Snowden’s leak is basically done. It’s newspapers – not Snowden – deciding what gets disclosed and in what sequence.”
In other words, Snowden already dumped everything he’s inclined to share with the media on the Guardian and, presumably, WaPo awhile back. He can leak what he has before they publish it, but it’s all going to come out unless they hold it back, and why any newspaper would hold back sensitive documents “in the public interest” when they’ve already shown their willingness to publish is beyond me. That means either (a) Snowden’s threat to leak more stuff in today’s letter is basically idle, since he’s already effectively leaked everything, or (b) he intends to leak stuff that’s so sensitive that he chose not to share it with the media because even he concluded that it’d be too dangerous to publish. That’s where we’re at now in the Fight for Civil Liberties.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
He wasn’t “exiled,” he left. And the reason he left is because evidently he intended to leak things that go far, far beyond material like PRISM that might qualify for whistleblower treatment. As far as I can tell, this guy think his decision to lift reams of top-secret data off of NSA’s servers and then dole it out publicly to the world as he sees fit should be met with absolute legal impunity. As long as Snowden, with his imperfect knowledge of what does and doesn’t hurt the American public through disclosure, thinks it’s safe enough to be leaked, that’s good enough.
Update: Good catch by Politico’s Alex Burns. Maybe there’s a reason the Assangese here is so fluent:
Some very European subject/verb agreement here from "Snowden": "the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders"
— Alex Burns (@aburnspolitico) July 1, 2013
The letter was first published on — ta da — the Wikileaks website. How much of a role is Julian Assange playing at this point?