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The Rosett Report

The Edward Snowden Travel Agency

June 26th, 2013 - 1:26 am

The absurdities of the Where’s-Edward-Snowden guessing game have by now reached such heights that it would be no great surprise to see reports of the NSA leaker popping up in Tehran, or perhaps transiting the Pyongyang airport. Yes, I’m making that up. But a lot of the recent reports read like scenes from some latter-day version of Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 satire of the news trade, Scoop. Traveling on what is presumably a revoked U.S. passport, Snowden departs Hong Kong for Moscow.¬†Speaking from Finland, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin says that Snowden arrived unexpectedly in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and is still hanging around the transit hall — though journalists hunting high and low in the transit area can’t find him. Maybe he’s enroute to Ecuador? Or points between? On a tip that he was booked aboard an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Cuba, some two dozen journalists board the plane — only to discover as it heads for Havana that he’s not there.

And with the U.S. demanding his return, and not getting it, the diplomatic fictions multiply. Speaking from Delhi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that if China had adequate notice and willfully let Snowden go, “It would be deeply troubling.” Would be?¬†It seems that it’s a done deal. Or is it? Forgive me, I’m not going to go through every report of Snowden’s doings since he left U.S. jurisdiction. But if anyone cares to do so, one place to begin would be to look for the last time anyone with no stake in this game last reported laying eyes on Edward Snowden. And where. As it is, three governments with some of the most powerful surveillance machineries on the planet seem unable to sort out precisely where he is, when he left, or where he’s going.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s take at face value the basic tale as implied by the official statements to date. From Hong Kong, traveling on a revoked U.S. passport, Snowden boards a plane enroute to Moscow, whence he is transiting to some unknown onward destination. The Russian authorities let him disembark, and watch helplessly as he waits out the layover for some undetermined onward flight.

On the most banal red-tape level, none of that makes sense. It’s not just that to effect a smooth departure from Hong Kong, or anyplace else overseen by China, you must present your (valid) passport. To board a plane to Russia, standard practice for a U.S. citizen is that you must either have a visa, or a connecting flight back out of Russia already booked. To get a visa requires first and foremost a valid passport, as well as an invitation from a host person or organization in Russia. To merely transit Sheremetyevo without a Russian visa requires a complete onward booking. In which case, one might suppose that the various governments involved, with all their staggering surveillance powers, might have some clue about Snowden’s itinerary.

Instead, we have an American fugitive, traveling on a revoked passport, who is apparently waved though emigration with no problem in Hong Kong, boards a plane to Russia with no visa and no confirmed onward flight, and then vanishes in the Sheremetyevo transit hall. Forget about finding Snowden. The real talent here lies elsewhere. I’d like to meet his travel agent.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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I think it is time for him to release something embarrassing on the Internet to change the narrative.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This saga is being scripted in the White House. First they malign the guy's background (HS drop-out, pole-dancer GF), then they erase Hong Kong and replace it with China in all news stories (they are not the same; one has a population with a long experience with free speech and Western rule of law), then they start the "Russia" rumor going, then they charge him with espionage, then they move him to Russia so the AP can have a scary-sounding "DATELINE MOSCOW", then they start the Cuba story going. Gee, he must be a traitor! Then they start the "obviously the KGB-trained Putin squeezed secrets from him" story going. The whole thing is so transparently false. The US is orchestrating it. And I love the latest: "The US is shown to be weak by it's inability to grab Snowden." Yeah, right. As if the USG cares. They have they're spying network up and running on innocent Americans. They don't need to incarcerate Snowden. They just need him for script-writing purposes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr Snowden is currently undergoing plastic surgery at Moscow's famous Sliceski-Diceski Institute. When the surgery is complete Snowden will be an exact replica of John Kerry and will travel the world pronouncing the entire Snowden fiasco to be "deeply troubling."

The real John Kerry will travel the world pronouncing the creation of a second John Kerry as "deeply troubling."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Airline employees during the 1960's at Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport used to have the slang expression, "Bag of cement" for any passenger boarded without proper documentation for their intended destination.

Yes, presumably that happens to this very day. Reasons will vary.

Upon being refused a "landing" at that destination, the delivering carrier was then required to fly that passenger [Pax] back to the point to departure, either on that same aircraft or the first available [firav] of another carrier, at the expense of the delivering carrier.

The fun begins when that Pax doesn't have valid documentation to go back where he came from. That can happen. Reasons will vary.

Where can we ship this Guy? Increasingly irate messages are flung back and forth.

Aiiyyyiiieeeeaaahhhh!

So, I'm hugely enjoying this tragi-comedy vicariously. Glad I'm not responsible.

More popcorn, please.





1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks, Claudia Rosett, for mentioning Evelyn Waugh's satire.

Withering.

Hilarious.

May I suggest his, "Put Out More Flags." ? Reasons will vary.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Snowden's high IQ got him in the door of these huge bureacracies. His droll personality sealed the deal with the people who run these programs. I cannot imagine him surviving on his wit or charm in socialist,macho, 3rd world Ecuador. This is like watching a train wreck.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WAS HE EVER IN HONG KONG TO BEGIN WITH? More "smoke and mirrors" to keep media attention from something really important going down somewhere else!! Is he in Maurice Strong's compound in Bejing (or somewhere else in the world on old Mo's dime)? Too many unanswered questions here!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How long has he been in the transit hall of Sheremetyevo now? Do they have showers? How many changes of clothes does he have?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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