And the attempts to tar and feather Ed Snowden continue. The latest is that famed reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who started attacking Ed Snowden months ago
, has written up a long speculative article for Newsweek arguing that Ed Snowden has "escalated the cyber war"
by giving China the necessary cover it needs to avoid reining in its own cyber attacks. There are a lot of words in the piece -- in usual Eichenwald fashion -- which just add flowery language around the basic point:
"Snowden changed the argument from one of 'The Chinese are doing this, it's intolerable' to 'Look, the U.S. government spies, so everybody spies,' '' says Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant, the firm that linked hacking intrusions in America to the Chinese military. "Of course the U.S. spies, but none of what the U.S. is doing is benefiting American business, and pretty much everything the Chinese are doing is benefiting Chinese businesses."
That is, if you follow the bizarre logic here, without Snowden, Eichenwald believes that the US would have somehow convinced the Chinese to stop their cyber attack program. And, now because of Snowden, the Chinese can ignore that effort, by pointing out that the US is doing a ton of online hacking too. This is ludicrous on multiple levels. First: the idea that China would actually back off of its online efforts is simply not based in reality. They're going to attack and they're gong to keep attacking. Second, there's the idea that it's Snowden's fault
that China now has this excuse not to stop hacking. It wasn't Snowden who made the decision to have the NSA overreach in its operations. That's on the US government -- but in Eichenwald's mind (fed heavily by US intelligence community employees) -- the US government can do no wrong and its
spying is "different" than Chinese activities, because it's for good reasons.
Of course, this is the same excuse that defenders of bad state behavior always use. In fact, it's the same excuse that the Chinese use for many of their own online activities -- such as the Great Firewall of China, which they don't see as censorship, but providing a better internet.
But, Eichenwald then goes even further into the ridiculous zone when, on Twitter, he flat out stated that he's sure Snowden is actually a Chinese spy
Again, nearly everything about that statement is ridiculous. He didn't "leave all of the documents in Hong Kong." He provided heavily encrypted versions to a very small number of journalists, and then got rid of the files himself. Eichenwald takes that to mean he "left" them in Hong Kong, based on nothing, and all of this apparently means that Snowden is working for the Chinese (even though he left China pretty quickly).
Of course, all of this is coming out even as more and more officials around the world, including in the US, are recognizing how important the Snowden leaks have been in showing the nature of how the NSA has gone way beyond what it's supposed to be doing. It really feels like Eichenwald's piece is just a last gasp effort by his friends in the intelligence community to try to tar and feather Snowden rather than take responsibility for their own activities.