What exactly has Snowden's new "manifesto" accomplished?

In the end, however, the letters only prove that the convulsions caused by Snowden’s leaks have now become far larger than the man himself. The kinetic energy of the events Snowden has set in motion have made his personal situation or opinion largely inconsequential.

“The stories and the issues have moved past Edward Snowden and have a life of their own,” says Ellen Shearer of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “Maybe that’s why he wrote this. He realized no one is paying attention to him anymore.”

If true, there is an irony in that. When Snowden first leaked his information to The Guardian, he said he did not want to story to be about him but about US intelligence practices that he felt had spun out of control.

But “this manifesto is in many ways attempting to shift the focus from the very conversation that Snowden claims he was trying to start to himself and his plight,” says Stephen Vladeck, an associate professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.