Paging John LeCarre! #NSA leaker a Chinese agent?

Posted by: Phineas on June 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Would you believe..."

“Would you believe…?”

This is getting weirder and weirder, but, at the same time, tantalizingly plausible:

Former CIA case officer Bob Baer revealed on CNN Sunday evening that intelligence officials were possibly considering Edward Snowden’s case as Chinese espionage, after Snowden came forward this afternoon from an undisclosed Hong Kong location.

“Hong Kong is controlled by Chinese intelligence,” Baer said. “It’s not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case.”

“On the face of it, it looks like it is under some sort of Chinese control, especially with the president meeting the premier today,” Baer said. “You have to ask what’s going on. China is not a friendly country and every aspect of that country is controlled. So why Hong Kong? Why didn’t he go to Sweden? Or, if he really wanted to make a statement, he should have done it on Capitol Hill.”

When you think about it, the possibility of Snowden being used by Chinese intelligence is not at all unreasonable: the US news had been filled for months with items about Chinese hacker attacks and complaints about stolen data, and Obama was expected to bring this up at their summit here in California. Could he have been used by a Chinese “handler” to release this information when it would be both embarrassing to Obama and useful to China by cutting O’s legs out from under him at the summit? “Shut up, you guys are spying, too?” I’ve got no firm opinion about Snowden, himself, though, from what I’ve read, he does strike me as a immature narcissist who could be played by skilled operators. And what free-speech and civil liberties advocate who donates to Ron Paul would take refuge in China, of all places? (1)

There’s something really, really odd about this.

via Legal Insurrection

PS: I haven’t written much about these NSA revelations, the phone metadata collection and the information culling from Internet providers (PRISM), because there is so much to absorb and it has such profound implications for a free society that I think silence, on my part and for now, is better. I’ve seen too many outraged knees jerking, too much heat and not enough light, too much reaction and not enough reading; it makes me worry that, traumatized as we are by the IRS and Rosen scandals, etc., we may throw the “national security baby” out with the bathwater. For now, though, let me leave you with an article by Jonah Goldberg that best captures my thinking at the moment: healthy skepticism.

(1) Yeah, I know he is/was in Hong Kong, which is very free market and capitalist, but if you don’t believe Beijing pulls the strings of what goes on there, especially in an intelligence matter, I have a bridge for you.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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8 Responses to “Paging John LeCarre! #NSA leaker a Chinese agent?”


  1. Why would anyone who is thinking about asking for asylum in Iceland go anywhere except Iceland, when it’s impossible under Icelandic law for them to grant asylum to anyone not physically there?

    Regularly scheduled flight from Honolulu to Anchorage, and Anchorage to Keflavik/Reykjavik.

    Agreed. Something is really odd…

  2. Medbob says:

    The question that I measure against is: Does it fulfill to the letter the wording and intent of the Fourth Amendment?
    I answer that question as “no”.

    I’m not a Libertarian, but I am a Constitutional Conservative. It is NOT our place, within the class of Citizens or Legislators, to change the meaning of the clear wording of the Constitution.
    Is this disruptive? Does it challenge the authority of the Administration? Yes it does. That could have been engineered by the Chinese.

    The question that I have is why was the program classified? Do terrorists know that their communications can be monitored? Who are they keeping the truth from? If the answer is “The American Public”, then the classification is purely for political reasons and is therefore unethical and immoral.

    If you read the Top Secret order by the Judge (Vinson I think…), it doesn’t speak to ANY probable cause as REQUIRED for a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. Judge Vinson has therefore betrayed the public trust on two scores: Classification on Political Grounds, and issuing a warrant without demonstration of probable cause.

    Our standards of justice as put down in the Constitution have repercussions. We MUST conduct our official government functions under rigid constraints. The constraints mean that there are certain things that we CANNOT do to protect ourselves. There are rules, and our government increasingly breaks those rules.
    Where does it end?

  3. Tango says:

    First of all, let us not fall for the ‘pump fake.’ This is NOT about Mr Snowden (wherever he may presently be located).

    Nor is it about former president Bush (see the state controlled media lackeys trying to float Obama’s data snatching as being ‘legal’ because of the Patriot Act signed by the former president).

    No, my friends. This is all and ENTIRELY about an illegal operation being run against ordinary citizens here in the US of A by the sitting president and his entourage. Anything else is simply media spin and deflection.

    Obama and his operatives will smear Snowden in a desperate effort to wiggle off the hook. Just like they smeared that poor dolt who made the u-tube video in an effort to extricate themselves from Benghazi. History repeats…

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    Even though the Obhammud regime can do little right, this trawling op was not agent-dependent, meaning “one monkey don’t stop no show”. Damage? yes. Catastrophe? hardly.

    The whole thing was too unwieldy and unmanageable from the outset, sure to collapse under its own weight. If this thing were worth the effort, it would have caught Adam Lanza’s postings before he pulled Sandy Hook or connected the social media posts regarding Benghazi where the perps took credit.

    But then again, they could not nab “the brothers Tsarnaev” even after their repeated trips to Chechnya using their actual names and after Russian intellingence [oxymoron] had served them up on a silver platter.

  5. ALman says:

    It’s as if a Hollywood movie script has been picked up and is being read as the evening news! I think I’m going to have a few Irish Whiskies so I can get sober. . .

  6. ALman says:

    I held one of my shoes to my ear. I heard, “I’m no ‘heel,’ so I’m not talking about anything!”

  7. JoyO says:

    The Congressman who wrote the Patriot says PRISM is a direct violation of it. The Patriot Act does not allow this metadata collection on American citizens.

  8. Q: What did NSA say when an elephant walked into their office?
    A: Nothing. They never saw it.