Al Kamen’s In The Loop blog on the Washington Post’s website needs to be renamed. It’s become unhinged. Emily Heil’s July 31 post for the feature literally blamed sequestration for the Snowden fiasco. Yes, according to Heil, because of that horrible, debilitating fiscal hatchet that Congress dealt last spring, Snowden was able to spill the beans on the NSA’s surveillance operations.
Despite the evidence that the effects of the sequester were minimal at best, Heil pressed in her post that Snowden just would’ve been a normal government contractor collecting paychecks if such a policy hadn’t been executed. Right, because the editorial board at the Washington Post has a magic crystal ball that nobody knows about. Did I mention the main source for such a claim is none other than... Snowden’s father?!:
In our colleague Jerry Markon’s interview with Lon Snowden, the father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the senior Snowden says it was the sequester that led his son to take the private-sector contracting job that allowed him access to the secret NSA data that he would ultimately make public.
“Edward has said he took his final government contracting job with Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii to gain access to sensitive NSA information,” Markon reports. “But his father said Edward told him that his previous contracting job had been eliminated because of the federal budget sequestration.”
So ... no sequester would mean no access which would mean no leak.
In a parallel universe in which there was no sequester, Snowden might be just another contractor collecting checks, instead of an internationally notorious fugitive camping out in the Moscow airport.
So much for those theories that the sequester had little impact.
That is patently absurd, of course. Snowden's father can't be faulted for peddling such a ludicrous defense of his son -- he clearly wants his son to be exonerated for illegally disclosing state secrets -- but it is indefensible for a supposedly objective news reporter to pick up on this and give it any credence.
Then again, what Heil's done is textbook liberal excuse-making for criminal behavior, painting the perpetrator, in this case Snowden, as the victim of circumstances beyond his control. All the better, in Heil's mind, that those circumstances are the result of government policy for which conservative Republicans are culpable.
Heil, and her editors, should be ashamed of themselves.
UPDATE: This was a tongue-in-cheek post. Sorry if anyone thought of this as a legitimate story.