Is Edward Snowden’s story unravelling? Why the Guardian’s scoop is looking a bit dodgy

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

1. Why did he go to China? It was always an odd aspect of his plan that he should choose as his refuge from tyranny a totalitarian state that happily spies on its own people and imprisons dissenters. True, Hong Kong itself has a tradition of resistance to dictatorship, but it also has a treaty with the US that would make it relatively easy for America to extradite their guy back. Perhaps Snowden simply has the worst lawyers in history?

2. Snowden’s backstory is not entirely accurate. Booz Allen says that his salary was 40 per cent lower than thought and a real estate agent says that his house in Hawaii was empty for weeks before he vamoosed. Does the fact that he only worked for three months with Booz Allen and the NSA suggest he was planning a hit and run all along – that he took the job with the NSA with the intention of stealing the documents?

3. The administration is pushing back on the definition of what Prism actually is – that it’s not a snooping programme but a data management tool. The call logging accusations are pretty much beyond doubt (and reason enough to scream Big Brother) but the Prism angle is a little less clear. Extremetech points out that it is a programme that has hidden in public sight, that Prism is in fact, “the name of a web data management tool that is so boring that no one had ever bothered to report on its existence before now. It appears that the public Prism tool is simply a way to view and manage collected data, as well as correlate it with the source.” This is not to say that there isn’t a scandal to investigate here: “What is much more important is to pay attention to what data is being collected, and how.” But Prism might not be the smoking gun.

Full story.

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