The arrest of Brian Regan once again proves that +real+ spies are stupid and that Edward Snowden – is not, can not be… a spy and that therefore the US espionage-act should not apply.
Let me explain this a bit more.
Whistleblowers have an important role for society at large. The very 1st whistleblower (and arguably the most important) was Daniel Ellsberg. He stole, copied and released the Pentagon Papers in 1970-1971.
The Pentagon Papers were a classified history of the USA’s military involvement in Vietnam from 1945-1967. It showed that the administrations of 3 US Presidents had been lying through their teeth for more than 20 years. The administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson had always maintained that the US was fighting communism in Vietnam. The then current president Nixon said the same thing.
The Pentagon Papers clearly showed that the US always knew that the National Liberation Front (NLF, “Viet Cong”) was an indigenous movement and received little to no support from Moscow or Beijing. The history showed the true calculated, technocratic madness of the war-managers and their goals. The US population (and business community) had already grown weary of the military adventure in Indochina – the release of the papers only made matters worse.
Daniel Ellsberg leaked classified information. But he was not a spy.
Real spies usually work for foreign governments and… they’re generally quite stupid.
Jonathan Pollard was a Jewish American intelligence officer. He was a bit nuts. He liked to brag about all kinds of things (including being a colonel in the Mossad), he liked to drink and he took massive amounts of drugs. He was a bit of an oddball. He was constantly lying to his co-workers and superiors about everything. In the early 1980s he made friends with a colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces and began sharing classified information from about 1984.
The Israelis gave him 10 thousand dollars in cash and an expensive sapphire ring. He immediately gave both to his girlfriend as he asked her to marry him. Over the years that followed he received a real salary of 2500 dollars a month and thousands and thousands of dollars for dinners, hotels and jewelry. He tried to pass classified materials to South Africa and he stole classified materials related to China that his wife used for personal business-interests.
He was caught. He’s currently serving a life-sentence for espionage.
Which makes sense. Jonathan Pollard is a spy.
And he’s kinda stupid.
Robert Hansen worked for the FBI. He worked in counterintelligence compiling a database of Soviet intel-methods and assets. He became a Russian spy in 1979 and continued to hand them classified information until 2001. He was nuts. He was a devout Catholic and a member of Opus Dei. He was a sexual deviant who liked it when people watched him and his wife get it on (without the wife knowing). He also wrote some erotic stories involving his wife (again without her knowing). Robert Hansen was richly rewarded for his spying. Over the years he received hundreds of thousands of dollars. He even continued spying after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, for 10 more years.
He was arrested in 2001. He is serving a life-sentence in a maximum security prison.
And that’s logical. He’s a spy. And he was a psycho-sexual religious crazy person.
My favourite spy, is Aldrich Ames. He joined the CIA straight out of highschool in the late 1960s as a clerk. That’s right. At the CIA he did the same clerical work as in high school. He wanted more of course. He was a poor intelligence officer. He wasn’t very good at it, he wasn’t good at working with people. He was a horrible person to be around, paranoid and easily offended and jealous. He was also an alcoholic who drank like a fish. He started spying for the Soviet Union in 1984 and continued to do so until his arrest a decade later.
Yes, Ames also continued after the Evil Empire’s collapse in 1991.
As the money from the Soviets started coming in, he quickly got a divorce and married some woman from Colombia (he’d had several affairs, always drunk). They lived a ridiculously rich lifestyle: expensive house, dinners, vacations… the guy drove a fucking Jaguar!!?? Apparently Ames told people his wife came from a wealthy family in South America.
Aldrich Ames was arrested in front of his house, screaming “you must have the wrong man “! He was convicted of espionage and is currently serving a life-sentence in prison. I hate to hammer the point home, but again… He was an abusing nutbag, bad at his job and oh yea… He was a spy, working for a foreign government.
And that brings us to Brian Patrick Regan. He worked for the NSA. He was also a nutball. He drank, he screwed up his life, he had trouble managing money. He ended up with more than 100 thousand dollars in credit-card debt. So… he became a spy. He offered classified materials to Iraq (to Saddam Hussein himself) and Libya. I’ve attached the Guardian’s full longread at the bottom, so no spoilers.
Brian got arrested as he was trying to board a plane to Zurich with classified documents on him. He had apparently decided to make a run for it, leaving his wife and kids behind. What the fuck was he thinking? That Switzerland was “neutral”, just like he’d seen in old WWII-movies? He’d be “safe” there?
He’s facing charges for espionage and is looking at life in prison – yet another idiot spy with all kinds of personal issues.
Especially Ames and Hanssen caused a huge amount of harm and horror. Because of their positions they were able to weed out moles – people spying for the US. It resulted in several of these people getting assassinated, disappearing or getting arrested and receiving death-sentences.
The argument here is clear. In no way shape or form can Edward Snowden be considered a “spy”. He’s not been involved with any foreign governments. He wasn’t in it for the money or some character-defect. He fits perfectly into the category “Whistleblower”, just like Daniel Ellsberg. Snowden’s revelations have raised worldwide awareness, they’ve made an impact on Silicon Valley and the way they do business.
It’s had some impact in the US… There have been some limits imposed on collecting the data of all private citizens, but that’s US citizens only.
The NSA’s foreign data collection program continues unabated.
We’re not “US citizens”, we’re just fucking foreigners. So we’re all screwed anyway. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t benefit from Edward Snowden’s revelations. He took a principled stance against an unjust, intrusive and illegal system of secret mass-surveillance.
We owe him some serious gratitude.
I read yesterday that the Icelandic Pirate Party has made “Asylum for Snowden” part of their political platform. They gained a substantial number of seats in the Icelandic parliament during last night’s elections.
Although a member – and a candidate – I cannot speak for the entire Pirate Party of the Netherlands, but… if it were up to me?
Yes. Edward Snowden should get asylum in the Netherlands.
I’m sure he’ll like it here much more than in Moscow. He’s a soft-spoken, intelligent, privacy-activist. He’s no spy.
Real spies are stupid.
(Wikipedia: Rogue's Gallery of Spies) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrich_Ames https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hanssen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Pollard (The Guardian Longread) The Guardian: The Spy Who Couldn't Spell ** En voor de mensen die nu echt genoeg gelezen hebben na dit lange artikel? (The Assets - een geweldige mini-serie over Aldrich Ames - je vindt daar een berg links, even doorklikken) DailyFlix TV: The Assets