Random Thoughts about PRISM and Whistleblower/Leaker Edward Snowden: “Hero” or Criminal?

As I told you at the beginning of today’s show, the guy who told the Guardian about the existence of the super-super secret “Prism” program outed himself today. From the Washington Post:

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former undercover CIA employee, unmasked himself Sunday as the principal source of recent Washington Post and Guardian disclosures about top-secret National Security Agency programs.

Snowden, who has contracted for the NSA and works for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, denounced what he described as systematic surveillance of innocent citizens and said in an interview that “it’s important to send a message to government that people will not be intimidated.”

He said he’s seeking “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy,” but he’s hiding out in Hong Kong, as in China, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. Hong Kong does, however, and since Hong Kong is under China’s control, they decide.. If Mr. Xi decides to cooperate with the Obama administration, Mr. Snowden could be headed back here very soon.

Then there’s this detail, on page 3 of the WaPo story:

Some former CIA officials said they were troubled by aspects of Snowden’s background, at least as he described it in his comments to the Guardian. Snowden said he did not even have a high school degree.

One former CIA official said it was extremely unusual for the agency to have hired someone with such thin academic credentials, particularly for a technical job, and that the terms Snowden used to describe his agency positions didn’t match internal job descriptions.

Snowden’s claim to have been placed under diplomatic cover for a position in Switzerland after an apparently brief stint at the CIA as a systems administrator also raised suspicions. “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials,” the former CIA official said. The agency does employ technical specialists in overseas stations, the former official said, “but their breadth of experience is huge and they tend not to start out as systems administrators.”

What? No high school diploma? And he works for big-time consulting firm Booz Allen? How does that happen? There’s more to this story. Stay tuned.

As we also discussed, the fact that all the huge technology companies like Google, YouTube, Microsoft, and others allegedly part of the PRISM program, have denied any involvement. The top-secret PRISM program allegedly allows the NSA to dip directly into the servers of these companies and examine e-mails, and internet searches. How do we know that these companies weren’t required to sign confidentiality agreements with the U.S. Government? Let me answer that, even though it was a rhetorical question. We don’t know, and chances are they were required to do so.

Is Mr. Snowden a “hero” as some have said, or a criminal? What say you?

The Teri O'Brien Show