Voice of the White House
September 26, 2016
Washington, D.C.: I rarely go to the movies these days because the films are not worth the time or the money to watch.
I did see the Snowden movie last night and felt constrained to make some comments on it.
In the first place, Edward Snowden worked for the CIA, not NSA as the film shows. Snowden, who did not have a high school diploma, was brilliant with computers and the CIA hired him as one of their top experts. Snowden was paid a salary of $200,000 a year. He was sent to Geneva to work in the CIA headquarters there and became so disgusted with what he saw that he resigned his job.
He also made the error of contacting Wikileaks to pass on some of his knowledge.
He did not know that Wikileaks is run by Russian intelligence and so this group persuaded Snowden to go back to work and gather more important information.
He was told to get employed by Booze Hamilton who was a contract worker for various top-level US intelligence agencies but also told to apply to work in the Hawaii office.
Because this was the only Booze Hamilton location that did not have controls over their office computers and it would prove impossible to find out which of their employees had searched which official sites.
Snowden, working now for Russian intelligence, harvested thousands of the most sensitive documents, loaded them into six laptops and flew to Hong Kong with them.
It would have been embarrassing for him to have flown straight to Moscow.
The real problem, insofar as US intelligence is concerned, is that to this day they do not know what Edward Snowden downloaded and in professional intelligence agencies, his fund of information is considered the most important intelligence coup in history.
None of this is mentioned in the film, though much of it is not a secret.
As entertainment, the film is quite successful but as accurate history, it fails of its goal.