The UK Sunday Times reported that Russia and China have cracked the top secret files stolen by Ed Snowden, forcing Great Britain to withdraw their spies from ongoing operations in hostile countries, as their lives were now in danger. No word yet from US officials.
Snowden's supporters question this news story and question its timing, coming 2 days after the UK's terrorism watchdog published a review into terrorism legislation, which was set up amid public concerns over surveillance sparked by Snowden's revelations.
Is this news story fake? Is it possible the encrypted files have not been broken? And are we to believe those who say Vladimir Putin and China don't even have a copy of them?
Opinion Polls on Snowden
April 2015: 64% of American familiar with him held a negative view, but 56% of those between the ages of 18-35 regard him in positive terms. Young Americans think he has served the public interest, while older people think the opposite. These findings are similar to a poll taken about a year ago.
But in Europe, Snowden approval ratings are much higher--84% in Germany and Italy, 80% in France, Netherlands, and Spain, and 54% in the UK.
Will this news turn world public opinion against Snowden?
The PR Battle Over Snowden
If the intelligence community here and in the UK are waging a PR battle against Snowden, they are doing a very poor job of it. You hardly hear the CIA/NSA side of the story. Michael Hayden is the only person I can think of stating the CIA/NSA case against Snowden.
Imagine a 3-way presidential election between Snowden, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. He would likely win the millennial vote over Clinton and Bush.
Young American millennials (you know, those who gave us Barack Obama twice) continue to overlook the damage Snowden has done to his country. They choose to see only the positive side of it: NSA was spying on everyone and no one knew and who approved of it and what about potential abuses of that power? They forget about the danger to their own security and those around the world who are fighting to keep it but have been compromised by Snowden making a point that could have been made without giving Russia and China the crown jewels. Only a tragedy with Snowden’s fingerprints all over it will change their view of him.