Edward Snowden ranks as a modern day hero in my opinion. It’s not too often someone gives up their highly promising career in the elite services of the US intelligence community because their conscious couldn’t tolerate the immorality of their missions. No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald details the events leading up to Summer of Snowden and the events afterwards.
Since my blog’s name is a play on the revolutionary encryption software named PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), it should surprise no one that this book was incredibly interesting to me. I’m not assigning the “highly recommend” tag only because I realize my perspective of this topic is a bit zealous.
It could have been about 25% shorter, by removing a section explaining why privacy is important. To me this seems obvious, but I understand why it was included. However, I would definitely encourage you to at least read the first half of up until Snowden leaves Hong Kong.
This is essentially a literature version of the documentary Citizen Four by Laura Poitras, which is also fascinating. Between the documentary and this book, I preferred Greenwald’s written account. He’s a feisty yet eloquent writer and I enjoyed seeing his internal perspective.
Also refreshing is that Greenwald is very transparent about his political leanings. He doesn’t pretend to be neutral on issues like privacy — he absolutely has an agenda of exposing a corrupt and hypocritical US Surveillance State. Yet he does it with facts, and thus it shouldn’t matter what his agenda is. He highlights this quite candidly in the book stating that all journalists have some agenda. The only difference between himself and other “neutral” mainstream media journalists, is that he’s not trying to conceal his agenda.
He also handles himself pretty well on camera. See below a fun video where Greenwald appears on a Glenn Beck show, and one of the hosts pathetically accuses Snowden being a Russian informant because of things he’s seen on TV. Greenwald immediately torpedoes this with, “the key word there is suspicion, which is sort of another word for I have this tingly feeling inside me that leads me to believe something even though I have no evidence…” and then proceeds to dismantle this theory with hard facts.