This seems like one of those "Is there anything in your past that could be used to discredit you or cast doubts on your credibility?" thingies about which a reporter would want to ask his source during the vetting process and, should that reporter decide to move forward, maybe front-load into the story to control the narrative and immunized that source against it spilling out all over the pages of the Washington Post and making that source look, oh, what's the word I'm looking for...?
From The Washington Post:
Four years ago, Ed Snowden thought leakers should be ‘shot’(Actually the whole Ars Technica article is worth a read if only to flesh out Mr. Snowden's social views on assault weapons (Pro!), Ron Paul ("dreamy") and his rustic, Randite perspective on Social Security --
By Timothy B. Lee, Published: June 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm
...“Those people should be shot in the balls,” [Edward] Snowden apparently said of leakers in a January 2009 chat. Snowden had logged into an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server associated with Ars Technica. While Ars itself didn’t log the conversations, multiple participants in the discussions kept logs of the chats and provided them to the technology site.At this point, Snowden’s evolution into a fierce critic of the national security establishment was in its early stages. Snowden was incensed at the New York Times, which had described secret negotiations between the United States and Israel over how best to deal with Iran’s suspected nuclear program.“Are they TRYING to start a war? Jesus christ. They’re like wikileaks.” Snowden wrote. “You don’t put that s— in the NEWSPAPER.”“They have a HISTORY of this s—,” he continued, making liberal use of capital letters and profanity. “These are the same people who blew the whole ‘we could listen to osama’s cell phone’ thing. The same people who screwed us on wiretapping. Over and over and over again.”He said he enjoyed “ethical reporting.” But “VIOLATING NATIONAL SECURITY? no. That s— is classified for a reason. It’s not because ‘oh we hope our citizens don’t find out.’ It’s because ‘this s— won’t work if iran knows what we’re doing.’” “I am so angry right now. This is completely unbelievable.”The comments were posted by a user named TheTrueHOOHA. While IRC doesn’t have a formal mechanism for authenticating users, impersonation is rare, and Snowden is known to have used the same username in comments on the Ars Web site. Moreover, TheTrueHOOHA mentions biographical details, like his work in Switzerland, that closely match Snowden’s biography.
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||save money? cut this social security bullshit|
|< User18>||Yeah! Fuck old people!|
|< User11>||social security is bullshit|
|< User11>||let's just toss old people out in the street|
|< User18>||Old people could move in with [User11].|
|< User11>||they smell funny|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||Somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||you fucking retards|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||Magically the world changed after the new deal, and old people became made of glass|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||yeah, that makes sense|
|< User11>||you are just so fucking stupid|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||yeah, [User11]. and you're quite a gem|
|< User19>||TheTrueHOOHA: and magically, life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years.funny how that works.|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||[User19], you don't think modern medicine has something to do with that? no? it's social security? wow. I guess I missed that.|
|< User11>||hurr wait a second, life expectancy has shot up in recent times along with the dissolution of the communal family unit in exchange for the nuclear family|
|< User11>||gee i guess we might need to create a safety net for the sudden glut of helpless elderly????|
|< TheTrueHOOHA>||they wouldn't be fucking helpless if you weren't sending them fucking checks to sit on their ass and lay in hospitals all day|
Assuming this is true, well, there's no law against anyone changing their mind or evolving their thinking (unless, of course, you're a Liberal whose change/evolution does not adhere 100% to current Libertarian thinking, in which case you are obviously an authoritarian monster) and it does not surprise me that a person in their twenties would flip their entire worldview around, maybe even more than once.
I know I did.
In fact, the normal, twenty-something process of radically revising one's belief system can only have been made easier when the twenty-something in question is a very smart, privileged, insulated, white guy making six-figures, living in paradise and steeping in all the head-rushing power that godlike access to the instrumentalities of the American surveillance system entails.
No, the real, shocking story here is that Mr. Snowden circa 2010 or 2011 apparently got ahold of the NSA's prototype time machine...traveled back in time right past the "Mr. Snowden circa 2009" who made the "shot in the balls" comments above...and landed in the Year of Our Lord 2008, where he persuaded that still-earlier iteration of Edward Snowden to drop his whole "That s— is classified for a reason" thinking a year before he even said it and instead become this guy:
Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?
A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.
“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”
- The whole spacetime continuum may now be completely banjaxed
- Someone somewhere owes the estate of Robert Heinlein a lot of money.
It also means that someone, somewhere should really ask Mr, Snowden to clarify in simple, clear language how exactly he reconciles the remarks of Mr. "Shot in the balls"-guy in 2009 with Mr. "I was going to disclose it"-guy in 2008.
Because sometimes the things we said and did in the past can and should affect the way people think about what we are saying and doing now.
On the other hand, dredging around in someone's past for details about ancient, irrelevant business deals or student loan glitches is just bullshit:
Should the fact that David Gregory's wife was one of "the four top executives in Fannie Mae who resigned as the federal government took it into receivership in 2008" have been disclosed when he was doing stories on Fannie Mae and Newt Gingrich?The personal side of taking on the NSA: emerging smearsDistractions about my past and personal life have emerged – an inevitable side effect for those who challenge the US government.Glenn Greenwaldguardian.co.uk, Wednesday 26 June 2013 16.21 EDT...So I've been fully expecting those kinds of attacks since I began my work on these NSA leaks. The recent journalist-led "debate" about whether I should be prosecuted for my reporting on these stories was precisely the sort of thing I knew was coming.As a result, I was not particularly surprised when I received an email last night from a reporter at the New York Daily News informing me that he had been "reviewing some old lawsuits" in which I was involved – "old" as in: more than a decade ago – and that "the paper wants to do a story on this for tomorrow". He asked that I call him right away to discuss this, apologizing for the very small window he gave me to comment....Just today, a New York Times reporter emailed me to ask about the IRS back payments. And the reporter from the Daily News sent another email asking about a student loan judgment which was in default over a decade ago and is now covered by a payment plan agreement....
Should the fact that Clarence Thomas' teabagger, drunk-dialing wife was also a paid, anti-health care lobbyist affect how we think about Clarence Thomas' capacity to act impartially on health care-related matters that come up before the Supreme Court?
But neither Mr. Greenwald's student loans nor his long-ago business deals have any bearing on the NSA leak story whatsoever.
None. At. All.