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What we really learned from the Snowden ordeal

Monday, July 08, 2013 - Updated: 4:09 AM

The soap opera that is now the Edward Snowden case is important not for the secrets the National Security Agency contractor leaked but for what his multinational odyssey says about the hapless Obama administration -- and what it has done to America's place in the world.

Oh, somehow the United States will survive Snowden's spilling of secrets, even if, as White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "It gives our terrorist enemies a playbook" on how our intelligence agencies do business.

What cannot be overlooked -- or overcome -- is how China and Russia have seized the opportunity to make a laughing stock of President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, and to show their utter disdain for this administration.

Hong Kong allowed Snowden to leave on a flight to Moscow despite repeated requests by the Justice Department for his provisional arrest pending an extradition proceeding. Hong Kong officials insist Justice offered too little, too late by way of evidence on which to hold Snowden. Carney countered late last month that Hong Kong's actions were "deliberate."

Either way -- either Holder screwed up or was ignored -- it's an embarrassment and yet another reason to jettison the attorney general.

Enter Russia's Vladimir Putin -- who a couple of weeks ago basically told Obama to go pound sand over Syria. Now he takes the opportunity to further humiliate the American president by hosting Snowden -- at Moscow's airport and indicating Russia would be open to offering him asylum as well.

Carney expressed the administration's official "disappointment," adding the U.S. expected the Russians "to look at the options available to them to expel Snowden back to the United States to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged."

That should have had Putin quaking in his boots.

As for Snowden, how unfortunate that he missed a flight from Moscow to Cuba. It would have been a sweet irony to imagine this advocate for Internet freedom trapped in a place where Internet communications barely exist and Internet freedom exists not at all. It would have been a special kind of hell -- and one well-deserved.

-- Boston Herald


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