Not long after the existence of the NSA's massive PRISM surveillance program leaked, Snowden truthers began speculating on the leaker's identity. Was the whistleblower still an NSA agent? Was it all just a false flag operation?
These were more or less reasonable questions, as it was impossible to know at first who the leaker really was. Snowden's very public outing of his identify only added fuel to the fire. From there, the conspiracy theories went into their theoretical paroxyms. That paranoia over Snowden's real modus operandi even managed to infect journalists and writers like Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas.
Writing in their daily Washington Post column Wonkbook, Klein and Soltas even went so far as to suggest that Snowden doesn't actually exist. That he is, more than likely, is an NSA creation—a diversionary tactic to get the masses following a narrative, "emotional arc," and thus forget the NSA leaks themselves.
"Aeroflot flight 150, from Moscow to Havana, was packed with dozens of journalists who’d bought tickets to get a glimpse of, and maybe even an interview with, fleeing leaker Edward Snowden," write Klein and Soltas. "But when the doors closed and the plane readied for takeoff, they made an unpleasant discovery: Snowden wasn’t on the plane... There is, of course, only one explanation for Snowden’s absence: He never existed in the first place."
Let's pretend for a second that they aren't being cheeky. (An added editor's note makes clear that it's a joke.) For the Klein and Soltas theory to work, an endlessly fascinating, all encompassing, stem-winding NWO-style conspiracy theory must be explored, in which all of the following would have to be true: Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian and Washington Post were complicit with the NSA; Julian Assange is an NSA agent; WikiLeaks is an ongoing false flag operation and isn't actually with Snowden; and Russia, China, Hong Kong and Ecuador are all in league with the US. Put more simply, America's domestic and international spy operations have completely infiltrated every foreign government, news organization and airport in the world.
We could even get playfully recursive with the theory. Perhaps Klein and Soltas are, in fact, NSA agents spreading disinformation. Maybe I am, too.
Speaking to conservative friends and family, I even heard the conspiracy theory that Obama created PRISM in order to spy on both Republicans and rogue Democrats. Why? To blackmail political opponents into supporting his socialist agenda. Indeed. And the plan is unfolding exceptionally well. The socialist takeover is now complete.
One should not doubt that the US government (Obama, Congress, and the NSA) are attempting to divert attention and control the debate by calling Snowden a "traitor" engaged in "espionage" (ironic), and fixating on the cat and mouse game. The media, ever the useful idiots, are a vital component of this propaganda strategy. If the government feigns openness and calls for justice enough, mass media covers it, thus avoiding the implications of the leaks.
I don't doubt that the US government and the media are now fixating more on the Snowden mystery and intrigue than the NSA leaks. But to believe that Snowden doesn't exist, and is thus a creation of the NSA and US government, is a conspiracy theory of the highest order.
To celebrate this new era of paranoia and conspiracy, I wish to inaugurate several of my own theories. Because, as Pynchon wrote in Gravity's Rainbow, "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
Assange, Snowden and Manning: the Gay Alien Triumvirate
This theory is familiar to those who have read Jim Marrs' groundbreaking work of investigative journalism, Rule By Secrecy, and frequent the Above Top Secret website. In this theory, I could see Assange, Snowden and Manning being a gay alien triumvirate, attacking humanity from a city built in subterranean Antarctica. Their endgame? Overthrow the US government in order to set up a queer kingdom and make Evangelical Christians their eternal ass slaves.
Boards of Canada's Final Cosecha Mystery Hides Snowdens True Identity
No band aside from The Beatles has so mastered the cryptic than Boards of Canada. They created one of the greatest internet rabbit holes ever with their Cosech numbers station campaign, which preceded Edward Snowden's NSA leak by only a few weeks. Could it be that Boards of Canada are actually NSA operatives, and the final Cosecha mystery holds the key to Edward Snowden's true identity? Redditors: get looking.
Snowden — GOP Plant
Whereas some GOP officials and voters might privately claim that Obama manufactured Snowden to distract from the IRS, Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals, perhaps the GOP are actually behind it all. Isn't it far more likely that Snowden is a GOP operative, recruited at a young age, placed into the NSA and Booz Allen Hamilton, and told to leak NSA secrets in order to derail Obama's second term? Cui Bono? Who benefits more from the NSA leaks: Obama and the Democrats or the Republicans? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Edward Snowden: The Black Muslim Socialist
It is my hope that this conspiracy theory will be all the rage with Tea Party conservatives in late 2013. In it, Edward is not white but a black guy with a mask. Naturally, he is also a lazy socialist Muslim. In fact, it might be one of President Obama's 200 Kenyan Luo half-brothers.
Snowden is Alex Jones's Manchurian Candidate
Infowars' Alex Jones, in the opening salvo of a covert war against the US government, wiped Edward Snowden's memories, implanted him with new ones, and set him up at Booz Allen Hamilton. Several weeks ago he activated Snowden's directive, thus creating a Manchurian Candidate to bring down the US government.
Dick Cheney Coup d'Etat
Dick Cheney, not content playing from the sidelines, paid Edward Snowden to make the United States look weak, so that he could ride back into Washington D.C. astride a black stallion. Cheney will run in 2016, dissolve congress and the US presidency, and institute a 1,000-year empire of darkness. Halliburton will convert the Moon into his own personal Death Star.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion Predicted Edward Snowden
As the document that unites almost all conspiracy theories, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a great place to look for Edward Snowden in symbolic form. Is it any wonder that Snowden went straight to the press, the best means by which to control the minds of the Gentile masses? It's practically predicted in Protocol 2, for Christ's sake!
"In the hands of the States of to-day there is a great force that creates the movement of thought in the people, and that is the Press. The part played by the Press is to keep pointing out requirements supposed to be indispensable, to give voice to the complaints of the people, to express and to create discontent. It is in the Press that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation... Through the Press we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade..."
Edward Snowden is a Hologram
Just as in Victor Pelevin's trippy, post-cyberpunk satire Homo Zapiens, Edward Snowden is a holographic, virtual puppet. Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas hinted at this possibility by virtue of their article "Does Edward Snowden even exist?" In the real sense, no. In the virtual realm? Yes. Word on the street is that George Lucas, part of the New World Order himself, instructed Industrial Light and Magic to advise the NSA and CIA on how best to create a digital simulacra of a person. Lucas' best work in years.