Supposedly, the NSA wants to offer amnesty to Ed Snowden in return for the documents he took. This is a strange offer
on a number of levels.
First, by what right does the NSA offer amnesty? They're not the Justice Department. They're not the State Department.
Second, the documents are electronic. I believe they were distributed widely enough to offer Snowden protection; otherwise, the guy would be dead by now. Any number of copies may be out there. In the modern age, what does the phrase "Give back the documents" truly mean?
Third, the Russian government almost certainly has the Snowden cache. By what standard is it all right for Putin to have access to those cyber-pages while the American taxpayer (who paid for them) can't see them?
Fourth, if the NSA is willing to play "Let's make a deal" now
-- after all the stuff that has come out -- what the hell could possibly be in
those as-yet unrevealed documents? My (educated) guess: We will learn that the NSA is storing the content
of all of our communications, not just the metadata -- and that the government has employed some iffy rationales to allow the FBI to make use of that material. (We already know that they "launder" the data to disguise its origin.)
Fifth, why is everyone so angry at Glenn Greenwald? Snowden's still in charge of the documents -- or at least, the NSA seems to think
he's in charge.
And they should know. They're the NSA.
(By the way, I'll have more on the Greenwald/Edmonds/Pando thing soon...)
The grand excuse for giving the NSA the right to scoop up your mail is the fight against "terrorism." But many commentators used the word "terrorism" to describe the most recent high school shooting in Colorado, even though that tragedy seems to have been a revenge murder gone awry. All criminality (real or merely potential) may be classified as terror
if you are willing to elasticize your definitions.
Added added note:
Almost needless to say, Snowden would be an idiot to take the deal (presuming he really does have a way to return all
copies of that document cache). Quite simply, they'll kill him as a warning to others. It'll be a staged suicide -- one of those incredibly obvious theatrical set-pieces, a la Danny Casolaro. Every mainstream media personality will pretend that a disconsolate and depressed Snowden took his own life -- "He couldn't stand to be out of the spotlight!" "He felt an incredible burden of guilt for the harm he did to his country!" But the reality of the situation will be an open secret; everyone in the District (and in Fort Meade and Bluffdale) will know precisely what happened.
No, if I were Ed, I'd learn Russian, dress warmly, develop a taste for borscht and find an attractive Muscovite to date.