On June 12,2013, Chattanooga’s only daily print-newspaper published a Commentary by Ms. Mavanee Anderson. She identified herself as a friend of Edward Snowden. Snowden is the former CIA employee and NSA contract-employee who willingly and knowingly divulged massive amounts of highly classified national security information. That information includes sources and methods. The disclosure has done irreparable damage to the United States.
It appears that a close examination and analysis of the Commentary may be of benefit.
Analysis of the Commentary of Ms. Mavanee Anderson
Subject: EDWARD SNOWDEN
1. Evaluation of Source - Objectivity –
The Commentary reveals that Ms. Anderson is not objective. The Commentary appears to be an emotional plea made on behalf of Edward Snowden.
Ms. Anderson writes:
“There has been a great deal of discussion about what
might happen to Ed in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
“ I wish I could get him a message that says I'm thinking of you
and pulling for you. And I'm proud of you.”
“Even verifying anything about him may mean that my work
options in the future are limited. That's a risk I'm willing to take so
that he doesn't have to stand alone.”
COMMENT - Ms. Anderson is entitled to have emotional feelings, so long as they do not lead her to commit illegal acts. The emotion factor is considered here because any facts reported by Ms. Anderson should be viewed in context.
2. Disclosures of Classified Information-
Ms. Anderson writes:
“I don't work for the CIA or NSA, but I obtained top secret clearance
for a position I held in Geneva when I met Ed. My security clearance
allowed him to talk to me as a friend about some of the things that
weighed on his mind and conscience. He never divulged anything to me he should
not have. He spoke in the context of the information I already knew, and
in a general sense about the stresses and burdens of the work he performed.” (emphasis supplied)
COMMENT - Violations of law and applicable requirements-
Ms. Andersonen says that her top-secret security clearance allowed Snowden to talk to her as a friend.
Ms. Anderson asserts that information was divulged to her in personal conversations with Subject. Ms. Anderson seeks to justify Snowden’s action by pointing out that she (Ms. Anderson) had, at the time, a Top Secret clearance.
That part of the Commentary probably contains several unintended revelations by Ms. Anderson.
(a) Ms. Anderson may have had a “Top Secret” clearance, but it appears that Ms. Anderson possibly lacked the necessary training or experience for holding that clearance. Three requirements are axiomatic in the handling of classified information:
(i) It is never divulged except on a duty-related need to know basis;
(ii) It is never discussed except in a secure area;
(iii) It is never, under any circumstances, the subject of informal or personal conversations.
(b) Ms. Anderson seeks to qualify the breach of security by Snowden:
“He never divulged anything to me he should not have.
He spoke in the context of the information I already knew, and
in a general sense about the stresses and burdens of the work he performed.”
This qualification is in the nature of a confession-and-avoidance. It has no application to Snowden’s unauthorized disclosures.
(c) Ms. Anderson and Snowden were both in Geneva in 2007. It was 6 years later (2013) that Snowden made his public disclosures of highly classified information. He confessed to willingly and intentionally betraying of the obligations he voluntarily assumed when he received classified information. He voluntarily agreed to these obligations. They were required to entitle him to continue to work at a job which, it is reported, paid a six-figures annual salary . He was working (for a contractor) at a federal facility. His six-figure pay was federally funded.
(d) It justifiably may be suspected that Snowden continued violating the prohibitions applicable to classified information from 2007 to 2013. What other breaches or violations, if any, that have occurred during those 6 years are yet to be determined.
3. Snowden’s Stress, Mind and Conscience
Ms. Anderson reports that Snowden was suffering from stress and problems of the conscience and mind. She writes that they talked:
“… about the stresses and burdens of the work he performed.”
“… about some of the things that weighed on his mind
“At the time when we were in close contact — from the summer
of 2007 through the first part of 2009 — he was already experiencing
a crisis of conscience of sorts.”
COMMENT --- Stress and Mental and Conscience Problems
Other reasons, if any there be, for the stress, mind and conscience problems needs to be investigated and determined.
4. Is there a China Connection? --- Ms. Anderson reports that:
“Ed is interesting and brilliant; accomplished in martial arts
and an active participant in related activities. I know he used to
participate every year in Chinese New Year parades with his
martial arts organization.” (emphasis supplied)
COMMENT --- China should not be overlooked as a possible hideaway location for Snowden.
(a) Jeffrey Toubin, lawyer, author, and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker, wrote this:
“Snowden fled to Hong Kong when he knew publication of his leaks was imminent. In his interview, he said he went there because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.” This may be true, in some limited way, but the overriding fact is that Hong Kong is part of China, which is, as Snowden knows, a stalwart adversary of the United States in intelligence matters. …. Snowden is now at the mercy of the Chinese leaders who run Hong Kong. As a result, all of Snowden’s secrets may wind up in the hands of the Chinese government—which has no commitment at all to free speech or the right to political dissent. And that makes Snowden a hero?”
(b) The Associated Press reported that Snowden sought to secretly notify a foreign nation that it was he who made the disclosure. Two weeks before the announcement of his betrayal of his nation, Snowden sought a commitment from the Washington post:
“To effect his plan, Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence …. He also asked that The Post publish online a cryptographic key that he could use to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the document’s source.” (emphasis supplied)
The Post refused to agree to these conditions. The Post severely limited the Post’s publication of much of the classified material delivered by Snowden.
(c) WSWS identifies itself as - The World Socialist Web Site, Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) [Also see-wsws.org].
WSWS appears to support, and to praise, Snowden. However, WSWS does provide an insight into the possibility of a “China Connection.”
In an article dated 14 June 2013 WSWS reported:
“Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward
Snowden revealed to Hong Kong’s English-language newspaper,
the South China Morning Post, on Wednesday that Washington
has hacked into hundreds of civilian targets in Hong Kong and mainland China.
“Snowden’s revelations are a major blow to the claims made by
the Obama administration that China is the greatest threat to
global cyber security. This claim has been used to intensify US
pressure on China and justify developing US cyber warfare
capabilities to attack targets around the world.”
WSWS further reported:
“Snowden declared, ‘The primary issue of public importance
to Hong Kong and mainland China should be that the NSA is
illegally seizing the communications of tens of millions of individuals
without any individualised suspicion of wrongdoing.’ ”(emphasis supplied)
COMMENT – Does it not appear that Snowden may be more disturbed by what his former employer is doing to China than what China is doing to the United States? Also, is he oblivious to, or proud of, the irreparable damage that he has done to the United States by his betrayal of the trust reposed in him?
(d) The Washington Post reported that on the day Snowden’s name was released to the world, Snowden communicated from his hotel room in Hong-Kong:
“I’ve been a spy for almost all of my adult life….
I don’t like being in the spotlight.”
COMMENT- If Snowden has been a spy for almost all of his adult life, as he claims, who has he been spying on?
The world of espionage and counter-espionage has been properly described as “the wilderness of mirrors” --- the land “where up is down, black is white and nothing is what it appears to be.” It is a land where dissimulation is an accepted part of the trade-craft. It is a land where double agents sometimes roam.
Snowden’s claim of being a spy merits thorough investigation. Employment reports show that for most of his adult life he has been no closer to espionage than the periphery.
He was a security guard for a NSA facility at University of Maryland; he has been involved with IT security for CIA; in 2007 he was in Geneva maintaining computer network security for CIA; in 2009 he left CIA to work for a private contractor for NSA in Japan; in February or March 2013 he began working for defense contractor Booz Allen where his job was a system administrator. He was with Booz Allen for less than 3 months; he left in May 2013. No espionage trade-craft in that employment record.
If he has been spying during those times, as he claims, the question is: for whom?
A comprehensive collection of background data and study of Snowden, can be found at: http://www.matthewaid.com/post/53101653068/background-of-edward-j-snowden. Other background data on him is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/11/edward-snowden-what-we-know-nsa.