The U.S. has finally charged former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden with espionage for leaking U.S. intelligence documents and secrets.
But that doesn’t mean the U.S. is close to apprehending him.
Snowden remains a free man in Hong Kong, Lana Lam of the South China Morning Post is reporting.
And, while he hangs out in a “safe place,” Snowden is now sharing more U.S. intelligence secrets with the Chinese (and world) through the South China Morning Post.
According to the SCMP, Snowden has documents showing how the U.S. has systematically targeted and hacked computers in Hong Kong and mainland China.
These attacks included:
- “Extensive hacking of major telecommunication companies in China to access text messages”
- “Sustained attacks on network backbones at Tsinghua University, China’s premier seat of learning.”
- “Hacking of computers at the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, which owns one of the most extensive fibre optic submarine cable networks in the region”
Although it’s probably healthy for Americans to be reminded that their government does many of the same things that people accuse China of doing, it’s hard to argue that these new leaks help America.
When he first revealed himself as the National Security Agency leaker two weeks ago, Snowden cast himself as an American patriot. Americans needed to know what their government was up to, Snowden suggested, because, in Snowden’s view, the privacy rights of Americans were being violated.
In the weeks since revealing himself, however, Snowden’s moves have suggested that his actions aren’t motivated by loyalty to his country, but, instead, by a personal view of how the world should work. By explaining to the Chinese how the U.S. is hacking their computers, and revealing that the U.S. spied on world leaders at a G20 summit, Snowden is making clear that he he is basically against spying of any kind.
By giving U.S. secrets to the Chinese, Snowden is also, presumably, looking out for himself. If he can prove his value to the Chinese government, presumably, Snowden will increase the chance that the Chinese government will refuse to extradite him.
While some people will no doubt agree with Snowden’s idealistic view of how the world, others will justifiably regard it as an extreme position that doesn’t take into account reality. And Snowden’s recent actions, which, if nothing else, will embarrass the United States, hurt Snowden’s case that he’s an American hero and that “anyone” would have done what he did after discovering how the U.S. was trampling on basic privacy rights.
In short, Snowden is gradually destroying the initial support he had built up among Americans. And a majority of Americans now want him thrown in jail.
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