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Beware: Edward Snowden is just a distraction

(Credit: Guardian)

Washington Post columnists Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas half-heartedly wonder whether whistleblower Edward Snowden actually exists or if he's an imaginary figure created to distract from the real story of the NSA's surveillance programs:

The Exciting Adventures of Edward Snowden haven’t stopped the press from digging deeper into the NSA programs, of course. The Washington Post and the Guardian have remained doggedly on the trail of the NSA programs. And just this weekend, McClatchy revealed the “Insider Threat” program that the Obama administration uses to keep this kind of information from leaking out.

But whereas those stories might, in another world, be leading a journalistic feeding frenzy and creating a relentless drumbeat for further revelations, in this world, it’s Operation: Snowden that has managed to capture the imagination of the American people (or at least the people interested in political news). It’s Operation: Snowden that’s leading every news homepage and cable broadcast in the world right now. The effort has even neutralized journalistic resources that could’ve been devoted to the larger NSA stories (the poor reporters who got on the flight to Havana won’t be able to turn around for three days, for instance). Operation: Snowden has become the NSA story.

So of course Snowden wasn’t on that plane. He couldn’t have been. If he’d disappeared into Cuba the Snowden story would be over and all that would be left is the NSA story. And that’s not the plan.


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