Jody Vance

Snowden/Hacking/USPolitics/You. – by Jody


After sobbing through the farewell speech by out-going president Barack Obama, and then cringing through the first press conference held by President Elect Donald Trump — we were feeling the need for a window inside how National Security in the US works via the filter of Oliver Stone.

Last night, we watched the Stone’s bio-pic “based on actual events” called  Snowden — first screened at ComicCon then TIFF last summer.  Basically this is a movie about a young American computer genius who worked his way deep into the NSA and CIA.

With so much hacking talk, these days, it was  fascinating. The story of Edward Snowden covered the end of the George W. Bush presidency and into that of Barack Obama — and gave a hollywood movie glimpse of US intelligence gathering.

You likely know the story and how it centres around Snowden ultimately choosing to become a whistleblower. How and why he felt the need to let the world know about mass surveillance being done by the NSA. It’s a well woven tale — taking you on a journey to Snowden connecting to The Guardian News Outlet and handing over Top Secret intel on how the US Government listens in, and watches, Joe Public. 

There was one moment in this film that really resonated with me…it was where the head of the CIA explains, to an impressionable Ed Snowden, how the real threats aren’t in Iraq or Iran but rather online hacking threats by Russia and China. He added that blocking this hacking needs to happen or “this country will be ripped to shreds“.

Here we are in 2017 and hacking is all the world seems to be talking about.

From Wikileaks Julian Assange — to buzzfeed — to CNN, NBC, The NY Times…and on and on.

The “Hacker”, Snowden, lives in exile, still, to avoiding prosecution on US soil, under the Espionage Act.

Retired NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis, portrayed in the film by Patrick Joseph Byrnes, takes issue with the details in “Snowden” and thinks that the Hollywood license taken glorifies a low-level NSA worker. He’s debunking many of the “truths” added by Stone.

Seems that the old adage of “there are three sides to every story — yours, mine and the truth” comes into play here.  I’m certainly no expert on any of this.  (American Politics, US National Security, Surveillance, The CIA….and on and on.) I am a News Junkie and student of information and this is certainly a topic in mybackyard.  What do you think of all of this?  Please comment here — I’d love to know. Should Snowden be pardoned? Should he remain in exile in Russia? Is hacking the biggest threat we face?

Also of note: how incredibly careful the journalists, and their bosses, were about reporting Snowden’s information.  That is how real news is gathered.  Just so you know.

I urge you to watch this movie or, at the very least take some time click the links above and continue to read/watch reputable, multi-sourced news outlets.  The basic message of it all is that the REAL REVOLUTION starts with the PEOPLE.

It’s a noisy world we live in now, and it is only going to get noisier by January 20th.


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  • Reply Graeme Burk January 12, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I watched Snowden on the weekend too, and then followed it up with Citizenfour, the actual documentary that was being made in the hotel room as depicted in Snowden. It goes to prove Hitchcock’s adage that art is life with all the boring bits taken out because when you see what went on in the many interviews in that hotel room in Hong Kong it’s amazing how mundane and boring it is as the real life Ed Snowden explains what happening at the NSA and offers tech support on encryption to Glenn Greenwald. But it’s rather the point: this guy is credible not because of the Hollywood dazzle that an Oliver Stone brings to it but because in real life he sounds like an ordinary guy who had a very nerdy line of work. It’s well worth watching and it’s on Netflix.

    • Reply Jody Vance January 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      OHHHHH! Thank you Graeme. I will watch Citizenfour. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply trill136 January 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Heading to Mexico for a holiday, downloaded ‘Snowden’ and will watch it on the plane. Thanks for your viewpoint Jody, I am looking forward to watching it.

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