DrewM sent us a link this morning about the guy who supposedly fed the NSA’s data mining story to Glenn Greenwald last week. And while I do believe that the NSA has been collecting information on completely innocent American citizens inside our borders, I’m not sure this Snowden dude is who he says he is. We’ve applied for a FOIA on his records, but here are my impressions of what he says about his military career. First from the Guardian and Greenwald;
By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)
In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.
He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.
After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.
From the Army’s Special Forces recruiting page, the first three entries;
To become part of the Army’s Green Berets, you need to be mentally and physically tough, endure difficult training and face all challenges head-on. In addition to that, you must:
Be a male, age 20-30 (Special Forces positions are not open to women)
Be a U.S. citizen
Be a high school diploma graduate
He claims to be 29 now, so, in 2003 when he says he went through SF training, he was 19. He also didn’t have a high school diploma – so those two things disqualified him right there. He says that he “began a training program to join the Special Forces” which could mean anything really – since his training would have begun at BCT (Basic Combat Training), just the wording of that statement makes me think that he didn’t get anywhere near Camp Mackall. Looking at his picture, I don’t think I can imagine him on the 5 mile airport run at Mackall with a ruck packed with bricks.
Then he goes to tell how he thought he would be helping people, but the Army seemed more interested in killing Arabs. That makes me think that he was headed to a civil affairs job and he’s calling it “Special Forces” as we’ve seen phonies do in our pages. And yeah, in basic training they kinda teach new soldiers how to kill people who are intent on killing the new soldiers – hence the name “basic combat training”.
Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.
“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”
He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.
Serious lack of judgement, in that he “admires” Breanna Manning, the rotting corpse of Daniel Ellsberg and Sockpuppet Greenwald. Manning did what he did because he was mad at his boyfriend and Ellsberg clings to Manning hoping to become famous again. Greenwald is doing what Greenwald does best; sockpuppeting to defend himself.
We won’t know the true story about Snowden’s military career until we get his FOIA back, depending on whether or not the National Personnel Records Center wants to give it to us or not (they’re a little slow when the person we’re requesting is in the headlines), but since folks are asking me what I think – there it is – pure speculation.