Snowden as Putin's Love Offering to Trump? Whiff of Fake News

File under 'Fake News contender.'

NBC News reports that Russian President Vladmir Putin is likely to hand fugitive former National Security Agency and CIA contractor Edward Snowden over to the U.S. in a bid to grease the skids for better U.S.-Russia relations. 

Color me skeptical

Snowden, you recall, is the little punk who once had it made: Living in a Hawaiian paradise, he had a $100,000 a year Booz Allen Hamilton job, no college degree, a security clearance, and as the cherry on top, a pole-dancing live-in girlfriend. He threw it all away and fled the U.S. in 2013 with a massive treasure trove of U.S. intelligence in squirrelled away on laptops and thumb drives taken illicitly. After that, he made a cockamamie claim about merely being motivated by concern about NSA spying on Americans, which in fact was nothing but meta-data of no consequence to the average American. It had the look of a baloney alibi, given that he ended up in that press-freedom and transparency bastion Russia and the more likely scenario that the Russians might have had something on him, perhaps from one of his trips to spy-haunt Geneva, and he seemed to have known the lawmen were after him as he fled the country suddenly. It would all be consistent with the Cold War spy pattern in any case.

What was different was that he cloaked himself in the flag after stealing secrets, illustrating Samuel Johnson's dictum that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Many in the media praised him as a "patriot" and called for pardons. Safely ensconced in Russia, Snowden would now have us believe he never disclosed U.S. secrets to the Russians, who apparently, just give any American fleeing the long arm of the law asylum - and keep extending it, along with free housing, Russian lessons, security, and a propaganda soapbox in exchange for nothing in return. Buried deep in the Bear's embrace, the Russians limited outside access to him yet allowed him to become a media star, writing New York Times op-eds and tweeting commentary to great press coverage, showing that espionage ain't what it used to be.

Snowden not only damaged U.S. intelligence-gathering and made it more difficult for U.S. spies to recruit informants, his thievery also stoked paranoia in the U.S., leading to measures in Congress that tied U.S. intelligence agencies' hands as they sought to hunt down terrorists through their electronic communications. It was virtue-signalling at its worst.

Now the story is out from NBC that Putin wants good relations with U.S. so badly he's willing to fork over Snowden.

Color me skeptical again.

NBC is a paid-up member of the mainstream media which has repeatedly been caught dispensing fake-news stories along with much of the mainstream media. The idea that Putin wants to hand Snowden over as a sort of love-offering to Trump is hard to believe, given that Russia isn't giving up Crimea and it grudgingly endures sanctions with few complaints.

The story also has been picked up by the British tabloid press, some of which at times appears to be Russian propaganda conduits with unusually good Russian sourcing. Put the two together and it all suggests the story at best could be a weather balloon from the Kremlin, or more likely, the Russians contemptuously jacking with the mainsteam media, which has been punked repeatedly in recent months for reporting false stories based on what they want to believe.

In reality, Putin is very unlikely to hand over Snowden. He's extended the former spy contractor's asylum to 2020 which would make him eligible for Russian citizenship if he lasts that long. History shows that traitors who make it to Russia have a funny way of dying early, sometimes in accidents when their use for the Kremlin runs out and they make themselves nuisances. 

But more to the point, the Russians deny that there is any truth to the report. Putin, as an experienced former intelligence officer, knows that treating Snowden badly would send out a message to future spies that it's not such a good idea to flee to Russia, and shut an important doorway for more defectors. Lastly, the U.S. hasn't made much effort to get him back, at least overtly, suggesting that they may think Snowden's living Russia is its own punishment.

File under 'Fake News contender.'

NBC News reports that Russian President Vladmir Putin is likely to hand fugitive former National Security Agency and CIA contractor Edward Snowden over to the U.S. in a bid to grease the skids for better U.S.-Russia relations. 

Color me skeptical

Snowden, you recall, is the little punk who once had it made: Living in a Hawaiian paradise, he had a $100,000 a year Booz Allen Hamilton job, no college degree, a security clearance, and as the cherry on top, a pole-dancing live-in girlfriend. He threw it all away and fled the U.S. in 2013 with a massive treasure trove of U.S. intelligence in squirrelled away on laptops and thumb drives taken illicitly. After that, he made a cockamamie claim about merely being motivated by concern about NSA spying on Americans, which in fact was nothing but meta-data of no consequence to the average American. It had the look of a baloney alibi, given that he ended up in that press-freedom and transparency bastion Russia and the more likely scenario that the Russians might have had something on him, perhaps from one of his trips to spy-haunt Geneva, and he seemed to have known the lawmen were after him as he fled the country suddenly. It would all be consistent with the Cold War spy pattern in any case.

What was different was that he cloaked himself in the flag after stealing secrets, illustrating Samuel Johnson's dictum that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Many in the media praised him as a "patriot" and called for pardons. Safely ensconced in Russia, Snowden would now have us believe he never disclosed U.S. secrets to the Russians, who apparently, just give any American fleeing the long arm of the law asylum - and keep extending it, along with free housing, Russian lessons, security, and a propaganda soapbox in exchange for nothing in return. Buried deep in the Bear's embrace, the Russians limited outside access to him yet allowed him to become a media star, writing New York Times op-eds and tweeting commentary to great press coverage, showing that espionage ain't what it used to be.

Snowden not only damaged U.S. intelligence-gathering and made it more difficult for U.S. spies to recruit informants, his thievery also stoked paranoia in the U.S., leading to measures in Congress that tied U.S. intelligence agencies' hands as they sought to hunt down terrorists through their electronic communications. It was virtue-signalling at its worst.

Now the story is out from NBC that Putin wants good relations with U.S. so badly he's willing to fork over Snowden.

Color me skeptical again.

NBC is a paid-up member of the mainstream media which has repeatedly been caught dispensing fake-news stories along with much of the mainstream media. The idea that Putin wants to hand Snowden over as a sort of love-offering to Trump is hard to believe, given that Russia isn't giving up Crimea and it grudgingly endures sanctions with few complaints.

The story also has been picked up by the British tabloid press, some of which at times appears to be Russian propaganda conduits with unusually good Russian sourcing. Put the two together and it all suggests the story at best could be a weather balloon from the Kremlin, or more likely, the Russians contemptuously jacking with the mainsteam media, which has been punked repeatedly in recent months for reporting false stories based on what they want to believe.

In reality, Putin is very unlikely to hand over Snowden. He's extended the former spy contractor's asylum to 2020 which would make him eligible for Russian citizenship if he lasts that long. History shows that traitors who make it to Russia have a funny way of dying early, sometimes in accidents when their use for the Kremlin runs out and they make themselves nuisances. 

But more to the point, the Russians deny that there is any truth to the report. Putin, as an experienced former intelligence officer, knows that treating Snowden badly would send out a message to future spies that it's not such a good idea to flee to Russia, and shut an important doorway for more defectors. Lastly, the U.S. hasn't made much effort to get him back, at least overtly, suggesting that they may think Snowden's living Russia is its own punishment.

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