Roger Simon: The slacker who came in from the cold
Think you're a dud just because you work as a security guard even though you dreamed of becoming a global savior?
Snowden, 29, and possessing all the qualifications to become a grocery bagger, instead gets hired by the National Security Agency as a security guard, after dropping out of high school and the Army.
With all that on his résumé, he gets scooped up by defense contractor colossus Booz Allen Hamilton, which assigns him to work at an NSA facility in Hawaii for a reported $200,000 per year. This allows Snowden to rent a house near the beach for him and his girlfriend.
Is this the American dream or what?
So first he leaks classified information that reveals our government is collecting information on all phone calls made on the Verizon network and then leaks classified info that reveals the government collects Internet data on foreigners from companies like Google and Facebook.
On the other hand, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, "For me, it is literally - not figuratively - literally gut wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities."
In any case, Snowden flees the United States to a luxury hotel in - wait for it - China.
True, it is Hong Kong, a fabulous city brimming with soaring skyscrapers, marvelous restaurants, a glamorous nightlife and people of copious wealth. And true, Hong Kong, operates as a "semi-autonomous region" of China in which people have more rights.
Oh, well, small slip-up. But at least Snowden can live there as a political refugee even if the United States wants him back, right?
It appears that what Snowden really wants to be is a superhero in his own comic book. In dealing with Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, Snowden assigns himself the code name "Verax" and Gellman the code name "BRASSBANNER."
He also writes Gellman that the U.S. intelligence community "will most certainly kill you" if it thinks Gellman's murder might stop the leaks from being published. Gellman, an experienced and distinguished reporter, said he did not take this "literally."
Sunday, from his Hong Kong hotel room, Snowden continued to communicate with - the still alive - Gellman.
Which is the trouble with spies. You can't believe a word they say.
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