I do not actually have any specific evidence that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MIch.) is being manipulated by minions of the deep state to impugn Edward Snowden’s integrity by claiming that he may be taking orders from the Russian spy services. I just feel like Congressman Rogers couldn’t possibly have shown up in the green room of that Sunday talk show the other day with a “go bag” on his own initiative, because he seems so much less intelligent than his twin brother, Sam Gamgee, companion of ringbearer Frodo Baggins. (Oops, I think I just leaked a state secret.)
Meanwhile, I wonder why a reputable news source such as Reuters would diminish its credibility by putting out this headline about Rogers’s insinuation: “U.S. lawmaker investigates whether Russia behind Snowden’s leaks.” The story itself gives no indication that Rogers has investigated diddly squat, merely repeating speculations Rogers made on Meet the Press, with Senator Dianne Feinstein as echoing chorus. As Snowden himself put it in an interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer posted yesterday, why then did he go to Hong Kong first? And, he said, “spies get treated better than” getting “stuck in the airport forever.” Snowden remarked that “it’s not the smears that mystify me, it’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.” According to Mayer, he “went on to poke fun at the range of allegations that have been made against him in the media without intelligence officials providing some kind of factual basis: ‘We don’t know if he had help from aliens.'”
P.S. President Obama’s speech on the NSA surveillance programs last week was, as usual, nuanced and serious-sounding (and he largely got the headlines I guess he wanted, e.g. “Obama Proposes NSA Reforms”). And David Remnick’s New Yorker profile of Obama reveals, again, our president’s analytical capacities and scrupulous evenhandedness, for example, in the passage where he cautions progressives not to assume that all criticism of him (or of President Clinton) is the product of nullification fever, but also cautions conservatives against the convenient fantasy that he is out to crush states’ rights.
P.P.S. Blogger Marcy Wheeler at Empty Wheel has posted an annotated version of President Obama’s NSA speech, and follow-up posts detailing blind spots and self-serving assumptions in Obama’s remarks. I do not know whether Obama or any surveillance state spokesperson will try to answer her (and how they have any answer for Jon Stewart’s spot-on ridicule is beyond me), but her critique goes into nitty gritty far beyond obvious criticisms such as Obama’s punt to Congress. Conor Friedersdorf’s analysis in The Atlantic was also pungent: “Obama Accepts the Logic of Staying Terrorized.” (I apologize but I do not seem to be able to give direct links.)