Sunday, June 30, 2013

Edward Snowden is screwed

For guy who's smart enough to hack into the NSA's database, Ed Snowden was shockingly unprepared for the aftermath of publicly admitting his crime. For one thing, he clearly didn't think through his route to asylum thoroughly. It's like he believed he could just cleverly sneak aroung the globe until he found a comfortable home in self-imposed exile where he would live out his days as a folk hero or something. It's as if, in his head, he was living out a spy novel but Snowden's immediate reality is grim in ways that suggest an unhappy ending to his story.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Sunday said that the fate of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is in the hands of Russia, where he is currently staying, awaiting asylum from the South American country.

"This is the decision of Russian authorities," Correa told the Associated Press in an interview. "He doesn't have a passport. I don't know the Russian laws, I don't know if he can leave the airport, but I understand that he can't. At this moment he's under the care of the Russian authorities.

Correa said that Ecuadorian officials would only consider an asylum request if Snowden was able to make it to an embassy or their country.
The problem is without a valid passport, he may well be living in limbo in the holding area at the Moscow airport under Russian security for a long time, which as Steve M discovered is an unpleasant existence for those without the proper papers.

Equally surprising is how clueless Snowden appears to be about how the internets works in the age of Twitter. It seems he expected to drop his bombshell into the news cycle and still be able to maintain as he once put it, "a quiet life." Neither does it appear he understands the new business model of BigMedia which Bussfeed's Ben Smith described perfectly a few days ago in response to the debate over Snowden's morals and motives that's been raging on the internets for days on end. This is the new reality of the Beltway media:
...These seem like good questions for a philosophy class. They are terrible, boring, ones for reporters, and have more to do with the confusing new news environment than with the actual news.

Snowden’s flight is a great, classic international story. It is, as Glenn Greenwald tweeted today, a kind of global White Bronco moment. His roots in web culture; his ideology; his decision-making; these are all great stories. He’s a much more interesting figure than Mark Felt because, at least, he’s a new figure, not a familiar one.
You might think a computer wunderkind like Snowden would have understood and considered the 24/7 news beast's insatiable hunger for fresh meat in his dealings with the media. Apparently, you would be wrong. The kid really is screwed.

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