I’m inclined to think that yesterday’s story in the Sunday Times about Edward Snowden is pure concoction. I don’t believe that a single British spy in China or Russia has been in danger in . . . recent days or weeks and has had to be recalled. I heard the ST journalist who was involved in this story speak on BBC News on Sunday night (and whose name I didn’t catch) and he struck me as ‘protesting too much’ that his story was correct. His case was of the ‘trust me’ variety — that his ‘source’ within the secret service was a reliable one. It is significant that neither the British nor the American government have confirmed the ST story.
In my view, the story is implausible — that the classified communications that Snowdon leaked from the American National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 contained ultra-secret encrypted files that have now been de-coded by China and Russia. At the time, Snowden said he’d withheld some highly confidential information but revealed much of the rest of it to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of The Guardian. They’ve never been charged by the British government — much though the American government would like it to, one mght imagine.
In time, we will know whether Snowden has been a traitor in the normal sense of the word or whether he has been fighting exactly the same fight — though from the opposite direction — as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and one or two more are currently doing in resisting NSA’s ‘rights’ to de-encrypt personal and confidential information. The American government would dearly love to capture Snowden, put him on trial and send him away to prison for many years, but he has powerful friends in America, political as well as commercial, and I would guess that it will all be forgotten within another presidential term or two.