Fugitive gets help
from American ‘friends’
in near-comic saga
Edward Snowden, 29, wanted for spying by the U.S. government, has eluded capture and dominated the news cycle.
THE DRAMATIC DISAPPEARANCE and supposed transcontinental journey of fugitive Edward Snowden beats any James Bond movie hands down.
It also clearly demonstrates the limits of American power.
Charged last Friday with espionage for leaking the story that the National Security Agency and British intelligence units were spying on people around the globe, the government contractor seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth – despite being hunted by hordes of media and the world’s only superpower.
“It makes [for] a better story than we would have seen in a book or a movie,” said John Miller, former Los Angeles Police Department counter-terrorism chief on the Anderson Cooper show last night.
Miller cited “its unlikely characters and near comical twists and turns” – the perfect elements of an action/adventure blockbuster.
Watch the BBC’s “In high-stakes hide-and-seek, Snowden keeps much of the world guessing” and decide for yourself.
Rachel Maddow, who made fun of the entire Snowden affair on her popular prime-time show on Monday. “He gave the U.S. a one-finger salute,” she said.
BUT IT WAS RACHEL MADDOW on MSNBC who really nailed the comical aspects of the case with her “stop thief” analogy.
It was almost as good as that ancient comic strip “Spy vs. Spy” that once appeared in Mad Magazine.
Maddow lead her popular one-hour prime time show with the tale of a little red panda that went missing from the Washington Zoo, which left me wondering where the news was.
But she soon arrived there. And it was worth waiting for.
Noting that Snowden, 29, who worked as an analyst with Booz Allen, had supposedly fled from Hong Kong to Moscow, and then failed to board a flight for Havana, she used as a backdrop the media circus that accompanied the missing accused spy at every stop.
“Other countries are not helping the U.S. get their hands on him,” Maddow said. “The U.S. is standing there in the street yelling, “Stop thief! Stop thief” and the guy running down the sidewalk holding the purse… instead of anybody grabbing him … people are just moving out of his way as he gets away with the metaphorical purse that we are screaming has been stolen.”
The story of the whistleblower fugitive lead the new cycle, taking up almost half top of the front page of the national edition of The New York Times on Monday.
Apparently officials in Chinese-controlled Hong Kong dragged their feet so long, that by the time they got around to investigating the U.S. request to arrest Snowden, he was gone.
Where – or even whether – he was gone was a mystery.
Most of the media horde believed Snowden fled to Moscow, but he did not arrive as expected in Russia.
“The joy on the part of the Russians was even more blatant,” Maddow reported, adding that there were rumors that President Vladimir Putin had quietly offered Snowden asylum – with glee.
Then, believing he was on a flight to Havana en route to Ecuador, more than a dozen reporters booked seats on the same flight. But Snowden’s seat, 17 A, remained empty for the 13-hour trip.
It was serious and funny at the same time.
LAPD former Counter-terrorism chief John Miller appears Monday on the Anderson Cooper show on CNN.
U.S. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA AND CHINA have been frosty at best of late, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s global attempts to shore them up.
The affairé Snowden gave both China and Russia an opening to retaliate.
“Russia and China have given the U.S. a one-finger salute,” Maddow deadpanned. “They have kicked sand in America’s face.”
It’s remarkable that the most wanted man in the world is a government whistleblower. This speaks volumes about the Obama Administration’s priorities.
It has prosecuted more whistleblowers then all other presidencies combined – to little effect.
Even Wikileaks founder and hunted whistleblower Julian Assange – holed up for more than a year in the Ecuadorean embassy in London – made a cameo appearance in the Snowden story. Reportedly he and his organization have become centrally involved.
Nothing in recent history – since the disastrous military invasion of Iraq in 2003 – so clearly demonstrates the limits of American power.
Surely there are other things the president should be focusing on – like trying to find jobs for the millions of people who are still looking for them. Or getting Congress to do something about the immigration mess.
The fruitless battle to keep government secrets secret may provide dramatic television but it is a waste of taxpayers money – and won’t be worth a dime anyway.