Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 06.24.13
Just Outside Washington


Edward Snowden: Patriot or Traitor

The media has published a lot of blather about Edward Snowden. I had a hard time finding facts about him. Maybe my interest is because of a couple of parallels in our lives.

At age 29, I worked for Booz Allen as a computer expert on classified projects and had a top secret and a Q clearance. We, at Booz, were smart and arrogant; we could solve any problem.

I see a different arrogance in Snowden -- a moral arrogance. His judgment overrides all others, and he will do what he wants no matter what the consequences. In fact, he said that he was willing to face the consequences of his actions. It appears to me that he planned something like this for a while and maneuvered his way in the system to accomplish it.

Now he has flown to Moscow and looking for asylum in Cuba, etc. Not the actions of a man who is willing to face the consequences of his actions taken for the greater good, based on moral principles.

He looks like a traitor to me.

Here is a chronology of Snowden's life, as best I could piece it together:

    * June 21, 1983 -- Born, Wilmington, NC
    * 1999 -- Snowden family moved to Ellicott City, Maryland, where he studied computing at Anne Arundel Community College.
    * 2001 -- Adopted an online persona he called "The One True Hooha" or just "Hooha" at the Web site Ars Technica, a forum for gamers, hackers and hardware tinkerers. His online chatter over the next two years revolved around role-playing video games like Tekken, Final Fantasy, Max Payne and Team Fortress Classic. He discussed his interest in martial arts and his disdain for formal education.
    * 2003 -- Wrote on Ars Technica, "Great minds do not need a university to make them any more credible: they get what they need and quietly blaze their trails into history," and "China is definitely a good option career wise."
    * December 2003 -- Wrote that he was joining the Army, listing Buddhism as his religion ("agnostic is strangely absent," he noted about the military recruitment form). He said, "I feel that religion, adopted purely, is ultimately representative of blindly making someone else's beliefs your own."
    * May 7, 2004 -- enlisted in the United States Army as a Special Forces recruit but did not complete the training.
    * September 28, 2004 -- Discharged after having broken both of his legs in a training accident. 2004 -- Employed was as a National Security Agency (NSA) security guard for the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland.
    * 2004 -- Employed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to work on IT security.
    * May 2006 -- Wrote in Ars Technica, that he had no trouble getting work because he was a "computer wizard."
    * August 2006 -- Wrote about a possible path in government service, perhaps involving China. "I've already got a basic understanding of Mandarin and the culture..."
    * 2007 -- Posted by CIA to Geneva with diplomatic cover.
    * 2009 -- Hired by NSA as a contract employee at a military facility in Japan.
    * 2010 -- Wrote in Ars Technica, "Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop, or was it an relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?"
    * 2010 -- Wrote in Ars Technica, "Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types…"
    * 2010 -- Consultant working for NSA. 2011 -- Registered for on-line masters at University of Liverpool in computer security but that he did not finish the program and, as of 2013, was not active.
    * March 2012 -- Gave his address as Columbia, MD and his employer as Dell Computer on political donation to Ron Paul.
    * April 2012 -- Moved to Hawaii.
    * January 2013 -- Made contact with documentary filmmaker Laura after seeing her report on William Binney, an NSA whistleblower, in The New York Times. She is a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
    * March 2013 -- Hired by Booz Allen Hamilton as systems administrator for NSA.
    * May 2013 -- Went to Hong Kong with computers.
    * June 2013 -- The Guardian published a series of exposés based on Snowden's disclosures. June 21, 2013 -- U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence with an unauthorized person; the latter two allegations amount to espionage under the federal Espionage Act.