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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spy and Counterspy - What Goes Around Comes Around in Spyland and Snowden Paradox

If National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive Edward Snowden is given asylum in Russia, he will unleash a network of spies and counterspies who will seek witness protection status as a result of any impending extradition to the US.  

Snowden will remain homeless in a proverbial "no mans land", in the Moscow airport, until he decides to officially ask Russia for asylum; or, he can try to fly out of Moscow, without official status, because, certainly, Snowden's passport has been impounded. If he decides to simply leave Moscow, he will be flown back to the US where he'll face criminal prosecution.  It's a paradox.  Either situation is an embarrassment for Russia, who clearly wants information from Snowden but, afterward, would probably move him to a camp in Siberia (perhaps, a fate he deserves). 

Likewise, Snowden is an embarrassment to the US because, this one man, has been given the opportunity to disrupt international spy communications and, in the process, has ripped off the political scab of old fashioned and aggravating Cold War wounds.

This dicey Snowden controversy is terribly serious.  Anyone who underestimates just how dangerous this extradition is should take time to read spy novels by John LeCarre (the George Smiley novels) and Daniel Silva (Potrait of a Spy or The Unlikely Spy)  knowing how each fictional story is rooted in reality.  In other words, they're more fact than fiction.  There's more at stake in the Edward Snowden "man without a country" saga than a person who is a fugitive from justice.  

For Moscow to return Snowden to the US will ignite an electrical storm of international spy negotiations, the likes of which, has the potential to grow hair on Russian President Vladimir Putin's balding head and turn President Obama's brown eyes blue - but, surely, both men already know this to be dangerously true.  Media in the US and the Russian press want to know the "story behind the story"; they will want to probe to the bottom of the barrel of a bunch of spies who would like to come in out of the cold, to use a Le Carre metaphor.

Whatever happens to Snowden, if he winds up in the dismal camps of Siberia or in a Federal US prison, his "whistle blower" acting out has put at risk many spies, counterspies and the clandestine operations in which they've been involved.  And, so, this is what's fundamentally gone wrong with the daunting episode - it's got a strangely fatalistic sucking sound.  What goes around comes around in the world of international espionage. Tragically, those caught in the whirlpool of deceit will never be heard from, because they'll likely be the deadly and irreversible consequences of this NSA disaster.  



Blogger Jacques said...

It sounds like you are ready to start writing your own spy novel. :-)

10:41 PM  

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