Trigger warning for the S-dog, so it’s under the fold.
Here’s Snowden’s explanation for why he questioned Putin, for what it’s worth.
As I’ve said many times before, my interest in Snowden is confined to two things: Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA. Everyone here seems to finally agree that his leaks are real NSA documents. And if you think Snowden is a traitor, a fool, a man-child, etc., then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?
Snowden is a sideshow. Even if he is the worst person in the world, the one dudebro to rule them all, and as big a prima donna as Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan combined, it doesn’t change anything about the problems at the NSA, which apparently wastes billions of dollars on illegal domestic spying with precious little to show for it. That’s the issue we should be addressing, not whatever Snowden asked Putin. That’s as relevant to the NSA as Chelsea’s pregnancy is to Hillary Clinton’s position on carbon taxation.
Second, NSA and Heartbleed: Yes, it has been denied by the NSA that they knew about Heartbleed for years before it was publicly disclosed. Bloomberg, a reasonably reputable media outlet, has not retracted the story. Given the NSA’s track record on denials, I think that waiting a couple of weeks to see how this shakes out is reasonable.
But if you buy the NSA’s denial, we still have a problem. The implication of the blanket denial is that the NSA was unable to find a fairly basic bug in the most widely used cryptographic library in the world, the source code to which freely available. My view is not that the NSA shouldn’t have been looking for the bug–it’s that they should have been looking, should have found it, and should have disclosed it at some point shortly after they found it. If you believe they didn’t find it, then what the fuck are we spending billions of dollars for them to do?
From what we’ve seen so far, one thing the NSA spends a lot of money on is overpaid contractors who charge exhorbitant fees for employing unvetted high-school graduates like Snowden. Another thing is billion-dollar data centers in the Utah desert used to hoover up petabytes of data in a mainly failed quest to identify terrorists. The NSA is wasting our money while at the same time threatening our current dominance in the world of cloud computing (by making it look like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are under their thumb) and doing precious little to defend us from the very real threat of lawless hackers like the ones who have attacked a group of major retailers (Michaels is the latest) in the last 6 months. We’re fighting the last war–terrorism–while either ignoring or fucking up the current one–hacking.