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Published: Sunday 11 August, 2013

canada goose coats for men canada goose coats for men Does Edward Snowden even exist

Aeroflot flight 150, from Moscow to Havana, was packed with dozens of journalists whod bought tickets to get a glimpse of, and maybe even an interview with, fleeing leaker Edward Snowden. But when the doors closed and the plane readied for takeoff, they made an unpleasant discovery: Snowden wasnt on the plane.

There is, of course, only one explanation for Snowdens absence: He never existed in the first place.

When you think about it in retrospect, its all so obvious. Some lone hacker a highschool dropout, no less with a beautiful model girlfriend and some strongly held views about transparency sacrifices his future to expose the NSAs most secretive program and then runs to Hong Kong and then to Moscow. Oh, and his model girlfriend has a blog where she writes about life asa poledancing acrobat. Its all a bit too perfect, isnt it?Editors note for the literal minded: It is not, in fact, all too perfect, and this column is not actually suggesting Edward Snowden isnt real. Its just a conceit to make a larger point.

The only question is motive: Why would anyone do it? The answer, as Buzzfeeds Ben Smithhints, is that it was necessary to keep the NSA programs safe. We can surmise that the information was leaking anyway, and so the government needed a distraction. Something connected to the NSA, so covering it would still feel like covering the NSA story, but that would divert much of the press from covering the actual programs.

And its worked. Everyone is talking about Edward Snowden. The whole world knows what flight he was supposed to be on this morning and which countries hes considering as safe harbors. The term STELLARWIND, by contrast, has largely dropped out of the news.

The genius of the plan is that it offers an emotional arc and payoff that feels like its about the NSA story. People angry about the governments actions can cheer Snowdens moxie and root for his flight. People angry about the leaks can hope the government manages to catch him. Theres a new plot twist each and every day. There will, presumably, be an eventual resolution to the Snowden story, such that those f canada goose coats for men ollowing it feel they have a sense of closure and can move onto other topics.

The Exciting Adventures of Edward Snowden havent stopped the pres canada goose coats for men s from digging deeper into the NSA programs, of course. The Washington Post and the Guardian have remained doggedly on the trail of the NSA programs. And just this weekend,McClatchyrevealed the Insider Threat programthat the Obama administration uses to keep this kind of information from leaking out.

But whereas those stories might, in another world, be leading a journalistic feeding frenzy and creating a relentless drumbeat for further revelations, in this world, its Operation: Snowden that has managed to capture the imagination of the American people or at least the people interested in political news. Its Operation: Snowden thats leading every news homepage and cable broadcast in the world right now.

So of course Snowden wasnt on that plane. He couldnt have been. If hed disappeared into Cuba the Snowden story would be over and all that would be left is the NSA story. And thats not the plan.

Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas write a blog for Slate.

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