Snowden, Through the Eyes of a Spy Novelist

For a look at Edward Joseph Snowden’s predicament through the eyes of spy novelist Alex Berenson, check out his guest-op in the New York Times: “Snowden, through the Eyes of a Spy Novelist”

I mention Snowden’s middle name, because it has come out that the extradition papers the US filed with HK misidentified him as Edward James Snowden, which was proper grounds for refusing the request, thus enabling Snowden’s escape. Hmmm, they’re going after this guy for telling the world how the US government is violating its constitution and who knows how many other nations’ laws; and they can’t even get the extradition request right.

Spy-novelist Berenson suggests what would have been the adult response to the Snowden affair:

We have treated a whistle-blower like a traitor — and thus made him a traitor. Great job. Did anyone in the White House or the N.S.A or the C.I.A. consider flying to Hong Kong and treating Mr. Snowden like a human being, offering him a chance to testify before Congress and a fair trial? Maybe he would have gone with President Vladimir V. Putin anyway, but at least he would have had another option. The secret keepers would have won too: a Congressional hearing would have been a small price to bring Mr. Snowden and those precious hard drives back to American soil.

Alas, truth is stranger than fiction—and often much less satisfying in the end; it’s beginning to appear that Mr. Snowden may be stuck in something closely approaching modern purgatory—the “transit area” of a 21st century Russian airport, or any airport, for that matter. We have it on no less an authority than Russia’s Alpha Male and former Chief Spook, Vladimir Putin, that Snowden is holed up “in the transit hall as a transit passenger.”

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Putin said Russia would not extradite Snowden to the US with whom Russia has no extradition treaty. He called US accusations against Russia “ravings and rubbish.” Putin, in so many words, wished Snowden godspeed: “Mr. Snowden is a free man. [Only a Russian czar could view Snowden’s being “free”—ever again.] The sooner he chooses his final destination the better it would be for us and for himself.”

Snowden may be there a long while according to extradition lawer Douglas McNabb, who conducted an online Q&A at the London Guardian website in which I participated on Wednesday afternoon. Shortly before McNabb went online, we learned that Ecuador had not issued refugee documents for Snowden as had widely been reported since he left HK.

“If he had the document he would be free to travel assuming the airline accepted it as a valid travel document, which most do,” McNabb said. “It is now being reported that Ecuador has not issued refugee travel documents for Snowden. If accurate, Snowden may be pulling an Assange but at a transit area in the airport with a hotel.”

McNabb noted that the US Supreme Court has ruled that even while breaking local laws federal agents may kidnap someone in another country and bring him back to stand trial in the US. The kidnapping is not grounds for having the charges dismissed.

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