Where should Edward Snowden go?

by on July 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm in Law, Travel, Uncategorized | Permalink

Assuming he can get there, of course.  Currently it’s down to Venezuela, Bolivia, or Nicaragua.  Dylan Matthews argues for Venezuela, on the grounds that the other two countries are much poorer and have lower life expectancies.  He says Snowden should put up with the much higher crime rate (by the way “0.2 percent of Caracas residents [are] killed each year.”)

But Snowden is not playing a Rawlsian game here, he is going to these countries as Edward Snowden.  I say seek out Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which is much richer than Bolivia as a whole and safer than Venezuela at least.  Sloths hang from the trees.  Also keep in mind that much of Snowden’s income may be coming from abroad, whether it be from Wikileaks or book royalties or civil libertarian well-wishers or sources unknown.  That militates in favor of the cheaper, lower wage country and Bolivia fits the bill.  Nicaragua is quite nice, and attracts some notable expats (pdf), but if you can’t travel abroad choose a larger country.

Finally, Venezuela has had some pro-American tendencies in its history and those could return.  Bolivia seems to have a more or less stable indigenous (semi) democratic majority, plus the hijacking of Morales’s plane may give the Snowden issue a resonance in Bolivia for some time to come.

If he loves the beach, however, Leon, Nicaragua is a charming town.

1 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm

And the food?

2 Tyler Cowen July 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Good question. Bolivia is heavy on the carbs but certainly there is plenty of tasty dining there and Santa Cruz is renowned for its fruit. Venezuela has price and exchange controls.

3 Rahul July 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Regarding Bolivia, I read someone speculate (on MR) that it might be wanting to use Snowden as a bargaining hostage to swap for someone it wants from the US.

Any truth to that rumor? That might make Bolivia iffy.

4 ChacoKevy July 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Yeah, that was me. It was a toungue-in-cheek suggestion. I have zero knowledge of international law, so I don’t know if it would really be feasible. I’m just speculating from my own experience as a guy who lived in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer during the Gas Wars.

5 Peter Schaeffer July 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Tyler Cowen,

“plus the hijacking of Morales’s plane may give the Snowden issue a resonance in Bolivia for some time to come”

Wow is that far off. Morales’s plane was denied entry into the airspace of France, Spain, Italy, etc. That’s not exactly a hijacking. Overflight is a privilege, not a right.

6 unionman July 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I think we have a new candidate for Obama’s press secretary!

7 Peter Schaeffer July 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm


Where do I apply? Can you put in a good word for me? Help me polish my C.V.?

8 Peter Schaeffer July 11, 2013 at 12:11 am

Let’s cut to chase. How much does it pay?

9 Rahul July 11, 2013 at 12:35 am

Isn’t there an international convention that grants signatory nations the “right to fly over a foreign country without landing”?

10 dan1111 July 11, 2013 at 2:33 am

There is such an agreement, but it applies to commercial flights only.

11 ChacoKevy July 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm

The food isn’t very Andean in Santa Cruz, so he’ll be able to avoid the carbs easily. Santa Cruz (aka Santa Carajo, Santa Pue’) very ably caters to the developed westerner (A couple of burger kings, subway etc. (Yes, kidding)). But SC tries to be more Brazilian than Bolivian. As such, some decent feijoada can be found. Also, proximity to the Amazon basin provides some excellent surubi (catfish, IIRC).
When I lived there (’03-’05) the plaza that Tyler referred to with the sloths actually had a pretty solid Irish pub overlooking it. The same irish gent operated an amazing cabana resort that serves as a launch for some amazing eco-tours in Viru-Viru national park.
Mini-golf, water parks, go-carts, mechanical bulls, bowling – SC would be a solid place to end up.

But as I suggested in a previous post, if I’m Snowden, I don’t consider Bolivia. I’d be too worried they would turn me over to the states in an exchange for the ex-president Sanchez de Lozada that Bolivia has been wanting all these years.

12 Euripides July 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Yep, I’d worry about getting swapped for their ex-president or other opposition leaders that have been exiled in Miami.
I would choose Cochabamba over Santa Cruz. Cochabamba has better food and they have 5 meals a day! Plus weather is very mild.

13 dirk July 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Since he’s single, he should go to the country with the worst restaurants. (Venezuela).

14 MC July 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm


15 MKT July 11, 2013 at 1:01 am

I don’t know if Tyler’s restaurant model works at the aggregate level, but sure enough Venezuela as a nation is relatively obsessed with beauty queens and pageants.

16 anita suarez July 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

venezuela best food of latin america. All of you are so ignorant. hahhahvenezuela would be a reward for snowden

17 bob July 13, 2013 at 9:12 am

I have lived in all three countries. Venezuela is the best option if Snowden an afford it. If not Snowden should decide if he is a mountain person (Bolivia) or a beach person (Nicaragua).

Nicaragua is hot, not very cosmopolitan and dusty. Nice beaches but poorly developed. I have not been to Managua in 11 years but at that time the TGI Friday’s franchise was the go to restaurant.

I lived in La Paz and was only briefly in Santa Cruz but the geographical is on of Boliva makes it a backwater. Santa Cruz would also be very hot.

The city of Caracas is in a valley about 20 miles south of the coast. To the north are the Avilia, three big mountains between Caracas and the sea, which are a national park. The city is at an altitude of 3,000 feet so that it is cooler, there is little air conditioning. There was a fair amount of immigration from Europe and Peru in the 50’s and 60’s so it is much more cosmopolitan. At one time Venezuela claimed to be the second biggest per capita consumer of pasta so there are lots of pleasant Italian restaurants.

18 Nick_L July 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm

America – its quite large, with a number of lowly populated areas. The signs are all in English, drone attacks are somewhat rare. Not too many cross border stops or random check points. If he keeps his head down, uses cash, stays off the internet, he should be able to live quietly in someone’s basement for years. Always wondered why Saddam or Bin Laden didn’t go that route. Or he could buy a boat.

19 Dan Weber July 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Detroit would work well. If anyone calls the cops, he has an hour to get away.

20 Brian July 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Really, he never should have left China. And having left China, he should take up Russia’s offer of asylum.

China and Russia are the two big, stable countries that can spit in the eye of American authority with no fear whatsoever and they both value the chance to sponsor some tarnish on America’s human rights self-righteousness.

They both have reasonably modern and diverse economies and interesting places to live and travel. If you’re going to be confined to one generous host nation for the rest of your life, it’s worth making it a big prosperous one. Both those nations have enough territory and breadth of settlement that even Snowden could escond himself in some safe little obscure college town and anonymously teach English classes when he gets old enough to be tired of being a wanted celebrity fugitive.

Latin American governments turn over democratically quite often recently but each one of them serves at the pleasure of the USA. At some point the US government will return to its policy of overthrowing Latin American democracies and installing its own strongman caudillos. It could be inspired by an eruption of communism or an oil crisis or just plain Bush/Obama Cheneyism.

Plus, South America is made up of small steamy countries. We’re not talking about someplace to study abroad or vacation; Snowden has to pick a country to settle down in.

If Snowden actually wants to get old enough to collect Social Security someday, he needs to pick a long term choice. China or Russia are the best bets.

21 Cliff July 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Plus Russia has a lot of beautiful and desperate ladies

22 CBBB July 11, 2013 at 2:37 am

Was he ever offered asylum in those two countries? He was in Hong Kong initially but that’s not the same as China as moving between Mainland China and HK involves going through customs.

23 Andao July 11, 2013 at 2:47 am

One of his biggest concerns while in Hong Kong was losing his internet access. China is nto the best place when you are worried about internet access.

I think he’s already worn out the welcome with Russia, so I vote Bolivia.

24 PK July 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

He should come back and defend himself before the court.

25 affenkopf July 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

And end up in prison (probably in isolation) for the rest of his life?

26 albatross July 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Nonsense. In US custody, he would no doubt enjoy the same speedy, clear legal procedures that our guests at Guantanamo have enjoyed. Probably the same gentle treatment in custody, too.

27 Rahul July 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Yep. And Manning too.

28 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Oopsie, turns out that the military judge agreed with me that Manning was mistreated. I wish I could remember who was arguing with me on that now that I’m accepting all apologies in the form of blow jobs.

29 Your Mom' July 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Be careful what you wish for…

30 Andrew' July 11, 2013 at 5:34 am

I don’t argue knitting with my mom and she doesn’t argue politics with me.

31 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

A quaint notion based on the assumption that the government would pursue justice. But them not being good is what got us here. We have established that the government is no longer for the people and wants nothing more and will do anything to protect itself from the people even knowing what they are up to. In fact, he’s the one who established it. Their predictable (mis)treatment of him would only prove what he already told us- that they are against the people.

The government is now only prosecuting “espionage” for people who are whistleblowers for the American people.

That and the food sucks in prison.

32 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm


Who wants to step up and ultimately owe a (or an additional) bj?

33 Therapsid July 10, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Venezuelan women are more attractive, so for a newly single young man, that tilts the field against Bolivia. While there are attractive women in Santa Cruz and eastern Bolivia, the average for the country is well beneath Venezuela’s.

34 albatross July 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I think crime rates are probably only marginally important for Snowden. The big risks to his safety come from a different source than random street crime. Which countries are more able to offer him protection from kidnapping or assassination by US agents? Maybe Cuba till Fidel (and maybe Raul) dies, but what comes after that?

35 Ricardo July 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

On the other hand, it means Bolivia’s restaurants must be better.

36 Bjartur July 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Nicaragua – get in on the ground floor of some Chinese canal business opportunities. (On the other hand maybe the ground floor isn’t where you want to be with a canal.)

37 Jimmy July 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm

since when is Leon Nicaragua on the beach?

38 Keljopy July 13, 2013 at 2:25 am

He didn’t say “on the beach”. He said it was good if he “loves the beach”. I don’t think a 15 minute drive is insurmountable…

39 Joe Smith July 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Guantanamo Bay. The weather should be nice.

40 albatross July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm

And I hear they have a really successful weight-loss program going.

41 TMC July 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I think the reports were that the guests there had put ON almost 10 lbs.

42 somaguy July 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Yeah, but it was probably all water weight.

43 Mark Thorson July 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I think the safest, smartest, and most likely choice is Cuba. It’s not on your list because if that’s the real destination, why would you tip your hand? All the countries on your list are places he’s certainly not going.

44 Al S July 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm


45 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm


46 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

“On June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.”

First, he didn’t steal government property. That’s trivial and dumb. Did he do “espionoage.” Nope. Zilch for two. The government gave him the information. He divulged it to Greenwald and thereby the American people. He did this concerning information OUR PRESIDENT says we need to have a national debate on. They’ll figure out some cockamamie way to railroad him of course.

I think Snowden should come home and the president have to pin a medal on him and then have to kiss his lily white ass right before he’s lead off to impeachment. But that’s just me.

47 Chris S July 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Information is property. He took it, even if it has the peculiar characteristic of still being there after it is stolen.

48 John July 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm

So the government and it’s various agencies are guilty of theft of the Citizens’ personal property as well by that argument.

49 Rahul July 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Many memorable figures in history did something that was patently illegal before what they did got the laws themselves changed.

50 Andrew' July 11, 2013 at 5:30 am

Chris S,

Yes, I know the government has made it illegal to give the people information about how the government is stealing their information.

That isn’t espionage.

The government is now ONLY prosecuting their own who give the American people information on the misdeeds of the government.

They have officially jumped the shark. That is why it is a quaint notion that he should come back and stand up for justice.

51 Dan Weber July 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

“On June 14, 2013, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.”

Where is this quote from? It’s wrong. He has not been charged with “espionage.” Here’s the cover sheet: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/716885-snowden-complaint.html

Theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications information with an unauthorized party.

We can’t really discuss the case if the crowd has decided the facts don’t matter.

52 Andrew' July 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

So, it’s even lamer than espionage. How else exactly is that critical?

53 j r July 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Bolivia is land-locked. If I’m going to be stuck in one country forever, I’d want it to have a beach,

For a few years, I’d pick Nicaragua, but you might certainly feel constrained by it. Caracas sounds like a dump, but I’m sure it has some nice suburbs. Venezuela has nice beaches. And eventually you’d be figure out a way to slip in and out of Columbia and Brazil unnoticed.

54 Mark Thorson July 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Cheap and legal cocaine makes up for not having a beach.

55 Brian Timoney July 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Not sure I’m 100% on board with the analysis.

As a border city with the much richer Brazil, significant amounts of drug-fueled crime make personal security iffy–


Also, business community in Santa Cruz much more pro-capitalism than rest of the country and much less reflexively anti-American than the govt in La Paz.

Close to Santa Cruz are communities of Mennonites as well as descendants from early 20th century Okinawan immigration–probably a more eclectic mix of ethnicities than found in the rest of Bolivia.


56 Sam July 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

What are the chances that Obama gives him a presidential pardon on his way out the door? How does that change the calculation?

57 j r July 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I think that you have to be found guilty of something before you can be pardoned.

58 albatross July 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Nothing in the Obama administration’s history so far makes that seem the least bit likely–not for Snowden, nor for Manning, nor for any other whistleblower. On the other hand, in the extremely unlikely event that anyone important ever gets charged with a crime for torturing prisoners or spying on Americans, I think you can count on an Obama pardon.

59 Michael B Sullivan July 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You’re wrong: pardons can be preemptive. Witness President Nixon’s pardon.

However, the idea that Obama is secretly rooting for Snowden is complete fantasy. Obama’s executive branch prosecutes whistleblowers more enthusiastically than any in history, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that this is somehow despite the wishes of the chief executive.

60 Andrew' July 11, 2013 at 5:35 am

All the government does now is prosecute their own who reveal government misdeeds to the people.

They don’t even capture terrorists and torture them anymore.

61 jmo July 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I think that you have to be found guilty of something before you can be pardoned.

IIRC Nixon was pardoned before he was convicted of anything.

62 Anthony July 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

More importantly, what are the chances that President Scott Walker pardons him in 2017?

63 derek July 11, 2013 at 1:11 am

Zero. He caused real problems for Obama with his supporters. An unforgivable sin.

64 William July 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

There’s nothing precluding Snowden from traveling between these countries once he establishes himself in one. Choose all.

65 RPLong July 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I interpret this question as being, “If one were forced to choose permanent exile in one of the following countries, which would you prefer?”

Of the choices, I vote Nicaragua. Nothing against the other two, but Central America has perhaps the best weather in the world, and the cultures of those nations have completely won me over. It’s no wonder so many American retirees end up there.

66 Marisa Gunther July 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

+1 Nicaragua probably it will be the best option.

67 Dave July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I think the US would rather have him in Bolivia. By stopping the Bolivian Presidential plane they were sure to antagonize the populace and make an offer of asylum from Bolivia more likely.

68 mulp July 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Demonstrating the economist’s view of morality and justice – never be bothered by liars and criminals, but instead seek profit maximization.

Clearly this goes hand in hand with cutting the price paid for garments by pennies to cut far less than $10 a year per worker out of the capital cost of safe working conditions.

Note Snowden has stated he went to work for a private contractor because he knew they were driven by profits more than fulfilling their contractual obligations, and violations of such contracts would not harm individual employees allowing them to look the other way – failures would be paid for by shareholders.

One can argue that the “government” should not be doing what it is doing, but Snowden did not try to make the case that Americans should demand the government give them the liberty of being killed and maimed by Muslims in equal measure to being killed by Christians because absolute liberty is worth so much everyone must be willing to die.

The risk of being killed taking a shower because of failure to spend a billion nationally on safer bathrooms with non-slip mats and hand rails is higher than being killed by a Muslim for which tens if not hundreds of billions are spent trying to prevent. We the People want to be “kept safe” from Muslim killers, but want to be free to be able to kill family members in a momentary fit of anger or simply a momentary lapse of attention to safety.

Of course, the present balance is way more profitable – abridged liberty for the security state to reduce deaths marginally and promoting increased gun sales at the expense of deaths and injury is a great boost to GDP and profits, not to mention the additions to GDP dealing with crime, punishment, and treating the maimed – trauma centers and private for profit prisons also add a great deal to GDP and profits.

Thus, economists must support spying on everyone in the world and increasing the number of guns and killing and maiming based on their growth and profit making, and thus defend both less liberty and more liberty as required to maximize profits.

69 Andrew' July 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Wow, you are right. What Snowden should have done is deepthroated Greenwald, and I’m not referring to blow jobs right here, I’m talking about they could have FOIA their way to the truth over a few years and sold more newspapers and Snowden stayed anonymous.

70 mpledger July 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I’d go with the country with the best and cheapest plastic surgery service. If he changes his looks, plus eye correction surgery and gets new identity papers then he should be sweet.

71 Mark Thorson July 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm

That would be Venezuela, but they’re mostly known for boob jobs. Of course, if you really want to be undercover . . .

72 bob July 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

By “pro-American” I assume you mean, their government was willing to cooperate with the US government.

73 Brian July 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

In this case, cooperating with the American government would be, in every sense of the word, anti-American.

74 eccdogg July 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Go to Bolivia, then slip into Brazil and marry a Brazilian woman and have kids. They will never extradite him.

75 KN July 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I love living in SCZ, however, among most Cruceños he’s not going to find the most sympathy. Frankly, he’d find more friends up in Cochabamba and all the gringos that live up there plus it’s one of the cities labeled as having an “eternal spring.” Also, he’d stick out pretty bad because there aren’t that many English-speaking foreigners (ahem, tourists) down here relative to the rest of the country.

@ChacoKevy: There’s plenty of Andean food down here now, and the Irish guy’s pub is still around (plus a new one–but they still no Guinness!). And the note about Goni is actually a pretty legitimate point. Getting Goni would probably be a domestic triumph for Morales only trumped by getting access to the sea.

76 ChacoKevy July 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Oh, that’s great! Any llama steaks getting down there? I will admit, although I preferred the lowlands to the highlands, the single best meal I had was in Potosi. Llama steak with mashed potatoes and garlic sauce. Unforgettable.

77 KN July 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

Haven’t seen llama meat down here yet, but haven’t really looked yet. But, I too had a superb llama burger in Potosi across from the mint. Delicious. The best meal, though, was baked trout in wine sauce on Isla del Sol in a candlelight-only restaurant over sunset. Spectacular.

78 Bill July 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

The solution to the problem of where he should go is simple and mirrors the statements of those in authority on the subject : He should go to:

The State of Denial.

In the State of Denial (SOD), what is true is false, and what is false is true and there is total information awareness.

SOD is inhabited by politicians, mistresses, and business executives, along with public relations specialists.

If SOD is unavailable, he should go to one of those charter Latin American cities that this website promotes.

79 Edward Burke July 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Should Snowden be obliged to take an Aeroflot flight from his airport sanctuary, he and his preferred destination may well never meet.

80 Affe July 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Bolivia. Preferably in a tshirt reading “Surf Titicaca”.

81 Hazel Meade July 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Why not stay in the airport indefinitely?

I’m serious. I’m sure it would be uncomfortable to say the least, but his continued presence there draws attention to his cause, and suffering will draw sympathy, much like a hunger strike. Wikileaks can continue to funnel money to him, so he won’t starve, he just won’t have a comfy place to sleep or shower. Protestors have suffered worse.

If he goes to Venezuela or Bolivia, either choice would be allowing himself to be used for propaganda by an anti-American government. Nicaragua maybe similar.

If I were him, I’d stay in the airport and hold out for a Western democracy. The longer he stays the more sympathy for him will increase.

82 mw July 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

You NEVER pick a land-locked country if you might need to flee. Terrible advice. Though I agree Bolivia’s sliver of the amazon could make an attractive last-ditch hideout locale.

83 Dave July 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

San Francisco is a ‘sanctuary city’ isn’t it? should have work for a half-decent coder.

84 Vernunft July 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm

He’s white, so that’s out. If he could pass himself off as Indian and work for 1/10th the wage…

85 Butch Cassidy July 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Next time I say “Let’s go someplace like Bolivia”, let’s go someplace like Bolivia!

86 middle aged vetr July 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

As of today, when I looked for if for the first time, there was only one google and one bing hit for the phrase
“the end of the precomputer world”

87 Bill July 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm

This may sound strange, but my recommendation is that he should come to the United States, on conditions.

First, he should turn over his material to the Senate Intelligence or combined House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Second, he should be given the opportunity to testify, publicly and in Executive Session, to both committees.

Third, he should be given “use immunity” (as opposed to transactional immunity) for his testimony: that is, what he says under oath before the committees cannot be used in his prosecution; other evidence the government has gathered without the grant of immunity can be used in his prosecution, such as admissions he has made elsewhere.

Fourth, there should be some process within the agencies (and without them as well) for an employee to raise matters like this, without having to violate secrecy. There should be an ombudsman path within an agency, and also a clear path for someone to go to a Congressional Committee without retribution to voice their concerns.

Finally, I think Congress and the Courts need once again to assume their roles in our system of government. To that end, the FISA court process needs to be modified to require it to handle actual cases and controversies, rather than a rubber stamp where there is no opposing party to present another view. To that end, FISA court opinions should be disclosed to the respective Intelligence Committees and to the DC Court of Appeals with either entity entitled to appoint an “inquiring party” authorized to appeal a FISA court ruling and to obtain evidence or testimony in a contested proceeding.

88 Andao July 11, 2013 at 3:05 am

Nice in theory, but it seems like most of Congress was solidly behind PRISM. So the next Snowden goes through the channels you suggest, and Senate Congressional Committee is unsympathetic (or even directly authorized the program in question), then future-Snowden ends up fired or jailed or disappeared. PRISM 2.0 never gets revealed.

I am sure every agency has an internal auditor for reporting misconduct and that sort of thing, but when you flat out oppose a policy implemented by elected representatives of Congress, I don’t see how the ombudsman is going to listen to a Snowden type character. They could write it off to sour grapes about Snowden’s favorite guy/gal losing the last election.

So unfortunately it looks like going to the press is really the only option for someone with information that they really feel ought to be made public. The journalist has to then decide whether it really is sour grapes, or if it’s something that people really need to know about.

If Snowden comes back to the US and testifies before a court of some kind or Congress, his whole testimony will almost certainly be a closed-doors affair, which is exactly what Snowden doesn’t want. When Congress is in bed with NSA, why would they have any incentive to disclose what they learn from Snowden behind closed doors? I think the only way Snowden should agree to come back is if his trial and testimonies are all broadcast live on TV, but even if he gets that sort of agreement, the US gov could easily renege once he’s on US soil. “It’s classified,” and all that other BS.

89 CBBB July 11, 2013 at 3:40 am

He’ll end up like Bradly Manning if he goes back, and besides most of the major American news media is pretty unsympathetic to Snowden and are basically cheerleaders for the military and the government. The whole incident hammers home the sad state of world affiars – the major media outlets absolutely refuse to due their job and the western nations are nothing more than US vassal states when it comes to foreign policy.

90 Andrew' July 11, 2013 at 6:31 am

If he were an actual spy he would have leverage. He’s not an actual spy, so all he can do is threaten to tell the American people more about the government misdeeds. He probably can’t do more, so all that is left is for the government to make an example out of him.

“the FISA court process needs to be modified to require it to handle actual cases and controversies, rather than a rubber stamp where there is no opposing party to present another view.”

My non-lawyerese version is that Obama is a lying cocksucker. He owes me a blow job.

91 andy weintraub July 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Having spent a week in Granada, Nicaragua, that’s what I would suggest. It’s markets are among the freest I’ve seen, as long as you focus on food, housing, transportation, clothing, tourism and other daily essentials. You don’t need a prescription to buy drugs that require one in the US. As long as you stay ouy of Managua and focus on the outlying colonial towns, you really enjoy the benefits of competition and free markets. Hotels and restaurants are really cheap.

92 TheRadicalModerate July 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

It’s not gonna matter where he goes, because he’s never going to be able to go out in public again. If he does, he’s likely to wind up with a bag over his head and an all-expenses-paid tour of some black site that even he didn’t have the clearance to unearth. To that end, the only question Ed ought to be asking is, “How committed are you to protecting me from my ex-colleagues?”

93 ere July 11, 2013 at 6:40 am

Huge math fail on that Caracas murder rate. 200 out of 100,000 does not equal 0.2%. Think about that! Even the idea that .2% of Caracas residents are killed each year defies the most basic common sense.

94 Cliff July 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Um… yes, it does actually.

95 Keljopy July 13, 2013 at 2:30 am

You didn’t do so well in math, did you ere?

96 Nathan W July 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Indeed, the number of people killed in several South American cities defies the most basic common sense … as does the war on drugs that is certainly a major player behind many of these deaths.

97 Trimegistus July 11, 2013 at 7:12 am

Yes, someplace with nice beaches. Perfect for tanning, swimming, and inserting teams of SEALs on moonless nights while you think you’re safe.

98 Jay July 11, 2013 at 8:39 am

Leave it to a brain-dead Progger to suggest Snowden go somewhere that might not have toilet paper to wipe your ass with.

99 Brett Champion July 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

Another thing arguing against Venezuela is the stability of the government. Snowden has to concern himself with the possibility that the government that’s giving him asylum might fall to a government that’s friendlier to the US and that might hand him over to the US. The opposition in Venezuela is far stronger than it is in either Ecuador or Bolivia, and is, by consequence, much closer to attaining power. Though the opposition in Bolivia is probably the one most likely to hand him over to the US if it comes to power.

100 Brett Champion July 11, 2013 at 9:30 am

That should read “either Nicaragua or Bolivia”.

101 Aretino July 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Slate magazine thinks he should go to France, due to their long history of ignoring extradition treaty obligations.

102 Simon Cooke July 12, 2013 at 8:16 am


103 Enrique July 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

What if this list of countries is just a ruse to divert attention from Snowden’s real escape route? My conjecture is Serbia, http://priorprobability.com/2013/07/11/tyler-cowen-asks-where-should-edward-snowden-go/

104 Nathan W July 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Definitely Bolivia over Venezuela, if they will take him, imo.

105 Nathan W July 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

USA, after a couple/few years and he is recognized as a hero rather than an enemy of the state.

In the meantime, I think we should welcome here in Canada, where we could use a little more transparency on the ways in which our government spies on everyone.

106 Andreas Moser July 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

Don’t worry. I am working on getting him out: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/phone-call-from-russia/

107 The Hat of the Three-Toed Man-Baby July 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I hope you get black-sited with him.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: