I was recently talking to a high level executive who does a lot of work with the 3 letter agencies and he made some interesting comments. He said, and I paraphrase, "I feel sorry for Snowden." I asked why is that and he replied, "Because Russia tricked him into thinking he has done the right thing."
This got me to thinking about some other remarks I have heard, most recently in an NBC Meet the Press Interview..
Mike Rogers, The House Intelligence Chairman, said Snowden was “a thief whom we believe had some help”.
Mr. Rogers (not funny!) went on to say, "...the vast majority had nothing to do with privacy. Our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines have
been incredibly harmed by the data that he has taken with him and we
believe now is in the hands of nation states.”
This is an interesting statement. In my analysis of various nation states, there are very few countries that could benefit more than Russia from this type of information. There is a solid point here in that why would Snowden collect data that isn't about protecting the American people, but rather hurting our ability to defend our nation and project our military power?
And in this next statement...
“I believe there's questions to be answered there,” Rogers said. “I
don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow
under the handling of the [Russian intelligence service] FSB.”
Rogers added: “Let me just say this. I believe there’s a reason he
ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow. I
don’t think that’s a coincidence."
Anyone that believes in a coincidence like this is hiding under a rock. Those of us who work or study the international dynamics of the new cold war, cyber war, realize what is going on. There is literally a daily war on the internet and it's damn scary.
Then there was this remark by Mr. Rogers...
“We have questions that we have to answer but as someone who used to
do investigations some of [the] things we are finding we would call
clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help and he
stole things that had nothing to do with privacy,” said Rogers.
Rogers is making sure, to those who are listening, that you not only heard him the first time, but also a 2nd and third time. Data collected and had help.
The Director of Intelligence Projects for the Brookings Institution located in Washington D.C., Bruce Riedel (and former CIA official from 1977 to 1991) was quoted as saying, “Is it really Edward
Snowden who is doing this, or is there a larger apparatus? I know that
many people in the intelligence community ... now no longer regard Edward
Snowden as a thief or a traitor… They regard him as a defector.”
We are getting multiple senior level intelligence people publicing saying this. Is this just PR? I kind of thought it was until I had that in-person talk with another highly position person.
Will we ever know? Doubtful...
I also found it interesting that when I mentioned I had read an article that explained Snowden had used a web crawler to collect all the information from the NSA. The
response I got back (again, paraphrased) was, "You can't believe
everything you read. He just walked out of there with three laptops."
While this doesn't connect Snowden to Russia, it was very interesting