Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Interesting Data Point on the Snowden Thing

According to this interview in Salon -- which people following the Snowden Saga in the Guardian may not have seen -- Snowden initially contacted filmmaker Laura Poitras anonymously by email in January regarding... something he had in mind. Initially, it was not clear at all what that... something... was. But in additional emails, Snowden clarified that he had intelligence information and documentation and that it wouldn't be a waste of her time.

He had contacted her due to the fact that she had been "selected" -- which meant that her every movement and action was being "watched" by... someone. And it was a story he thought she could tell.

Then, apparently, he contacted Glenn Greenwald, also anonymously, in February, with apparently a similar story of having intelligence information and documentation. At some point ("probably February"), Poitras says she contacted Bart Gellman at the Washington Post, and together they came to the conclusion that 1) this person was probably legit, and 2) there was probably a story here. Apparently she was also in touch with Glenn about Snowden at the same time. Of course, nobody knew who he was.

Poitras is quite mysterious about the whole thing, in part she says, because she wants to tell the story in her own words and in her own way when she is ready. For now, she is not inclined to get into many of the details.

But just the fact that she was contacted by Snowden in January regarding intelligence information and documentation he said he had at that time is interesting for the simple fact that, according to Booz, when he went to Hong Kong -- in May -- he had been their employee for "less than three months." You do the math. The information and documentation he said he had in January could not have come from Booz if he didn't start working for them until March or April.

Whether Snowden was in prior contact with Greenwald before he contacted Poitras is one of those mysteries that may be revealed in time. But if he went to Poitras first, that's interesting in and of itself, as that suggests he might then have initially thought his story would make a good film rather than being something suited to print media.

More and more people are questioning aspects of the story Snowden has told to date, particularly with regard to his rather remarkable biography and his continuing work with the very agencies or their contractors he claims to despise. There are many other questions about him and his leaks to the media.

Whether any of them will ever be resolved remains to be seen. The man has apparently disappeared. Speculation is that he may have left Hong Kong for the mainland.



  1. Che,
    Arthur Silber points out a very overlooked aspect to the whole Snowden thing: GG and his compatriots, the ones who received the leaks, have decided for us which parts we need to see. So now GG et al will disclose what they see as fit for our consumption - as opposed to the government deciding for us.

    See: http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/

    This post:

    June 11, 2013
    "In Praise of Mess, Chaos and Panic"

    In particular, this section of the post (he has divided the post with subtitles):

    The Filtering of the NSA/Surveillance Stories


  2. teri,

    I confess I stopped reading Silber (as well as Floyd and even Greenwald for the most part) some time ago due to their overwhelmingly dismal perspective which they repeated ad nauseum. It has the effect of constantly reinforcing powerlessness.

    Like Doom Blogging, some people seem to need that kind of fix. I don't.

    On the other hand, I am not one to condemn their insights. The issue for me is their continual litany of Doom -- or in the case of Greenwald, continual reports of this or that apparent wrongdoing by this or that political or media figure without the slightest hint of action to be taken apart from... argument. Or as both Greenwald and Snowden state in their media appearances, what they want is "The Debate."

    That said, Silber's arguments regarding WikiLeaks vs the current brouhaha over the NSA and other domestic/foreign spying leaks and the filtering going on is interesting. Thanks for the link. I may do a post on the contrasts...