I’ve been writing quite a bit about Edward Snowden over the past year, for example this, and focusing on the possibility that Vladimir Putin set him up with a honeypot. Everyone knows that at this point Snowden is a witting pawn of Putin’s — if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t still be in Russia — but I’ve been looking at the possibility that Ed was unwittingly played by Russian intelligence years ago and didn’t end up in Moscow by mere coincidence.
Specifically, I’ve been trying to determine whether Russian intelligence netted Ed with a honeypot — an attractive female, probably not a Russian because that would have been too obvious, but a Westerner who Ed didn’t even know was a Russian asset. You should all definitely read the story I just linked to as well as this one, which links to previous stories I’ve written on the topic.
What makes me suspicious? A lot of things, but mostly the undeniable fact that Ed, who is uncritically revered by a lot of people who should know better, has lied significantly about his past and that raises questions about his general credibility. He also has behaved in sleazy, dishonest ways, which raise further questions, and he’s got, or had, it’s not entirely clear, a hot girlfriend who is way above his pay grade.
And she’s a pole dancer. If given the opportunity, I might spy for Putin myself if this woman — see pix below — were doing the pushing so I can understand full well the pressure Ed would have been up against.
Let me say here that I DO NOT NOW believe the girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, is a Russian spy or that she netted Ed for Vlad. But there’s no question that Mills — wherever she is now; one of the latest sightings of the two together dates to late 2016, when Ed fed her KFC for Christmas — is hot and intelligent, and it’s hard to imagine why she would ever have dated boring, bland, sanctimonious Ed, at least before he became famous.
(All kidding aside, I started researching and writing about this in 2016. You may not agree with me but I put a lot of time into this.)
How is Snowden dishonest and sleazy, you may be asking? Well he tricked a bunch of co-workers into giving him their passwords and they got fired. Maybe you think the ends justifies the means, but I certainly don’t think so in this case. Even whistleblowers, and I’m not sure I’d put Snowden in that category, shouldn’t fuck over their colleagues needlessly, and Snowden did.
More significantly, Snowden has a big Original Myth story about how he started downloading classified material after becoming infuriated by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — a real shit head himself — lying in March 2013 congressional testimony, saying this was a “breaking point” for him. In fact, his mass downloads predated Clapper’s testimony by at least eight months and, despite his denials, probably as early as April 2012. (Check out this interesting story as well.)
In any case, my previous stories explained more fully the origins of my suspicions and laid out, based on former intelligence operatives and other experts, precisely how Russian intelligence would have used a honeypot to snare Snowden. (By the way, I asked Snowden and his chief shoe shine boy, Glenn Greenwald, for comment via Twitter. Neither replied.)
So let’s now turn to the question of who the honeypot was. For a long time, BEFORE DROPPING THE IDEA, I suspected it was Mills. And when I sent a timeline of the Snowden/Mills relationship to a CIA counterintelligence expert, he reviewed it and wrote me, “This is a fascinating chronology. It sure looks like a false flag recruitment to me.”
But this source wasn’t sure and as I said, I concluded that Mills was NOT a Russian-utilized honeypot because in the end the chronology didn’t seem to entirely fit. Still, let me show you part of what I sent to this counterintelligence source — a very tiny part of which is cut-and-pasted from this and other chronologies available online — and you’ll see why my interest was initially aroused. (And keep in mind, some questions posed here may or may not have been subsequently answered, and I’m not attesting to the accuracy of everything here, but it’s accurate to the best of my knowledge. An excellent crack researcher put it together for me.)
June 21, 1983: Edward Snowden was born. Spent the first part of his life in Elizabeth City, N.C. before he moved with his parents to Maryland. His dad was in the Coast Guard and his mom ended up working as a chief deputy clerk for administration and information technology in a federal court in Baltimore.
1991 – 1998: Snowden attends schools in the Anne Arundel County Public School District. In 1998, his sophomore year, he drops out of school allegedly due to a severe episode of mono; however, he does not return. Dad claims he remembers him being out for a couple of months for “some illness.” In the medical field, such people are called “poor historians,” however, being that the Snowdens were an educated, middle class family, they wouldn’t typically fall into the “poor historians” category.
1999: Snowden, 16, enrolled in some courses at Anne Arundel Community College, not far from NSA headquarters. I would assume he was probably taking courses to obtain his GED, which he later claimed he had received. However, it is unknown whether he did or did not. In the House Intelligence Committee’s report released on September 15, 2016, it is stated that he never received his high school equivalency. Arundel Community College has said he never received any certificate or degree there.
1999- 2002: No significant job history at this point in his life, still taking some classes at the community college. Between February and May of 2002, someone named Edward Snowden takes a Windows System certification course at a for-profit company called Advanced Career Technologies. In 2002, at age 18, Edward and some friends ran a Japanese anime website called Ryuhana Press. Recall here that just four years later, with not much formal education, he was hired by the CIA.
2003: Lindsay Mills graduates from Laurel High School, not far from NSA headquarters, and enrolls and begins attending the Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA).
2004: On May 7, Snowden enlists in the Army Reserve. To entice more volunteers, the Army Reserve at the time was offering an incentive called the 18-X program. This program was designed so that you did not need any prior basic training in order to train for the U.S. Special Forces. Snowden stated that he felt it was his duty to serve in the armed forces because he believed the U.S. government’s invasion of Iraq was meant to free the people from oppression.
It’s hard to imagine that Snowden thought he stood a chance of making Special Forces. He talked online about his “girlish figure” — and he was always online. He wasn’t a tough guy, not even close. This seems to show that Snowden had a grandiose attitude and he had something to prove.
Not surprisingly, Snowden had problems from the start. His vision was extremely poor. His shoes were extremely narrow and he had trouble being fitted for boots. This is important because he claims he broke his legs during a training exercise, however the Army does not confirm this. The House report says he suffered from shin splints, which can be caused by running and exercising in poor fitting shoes. Snowden never made it out of basic training and was discharged on September 28.
2005: Snowden returns to Maryland and begins working as a security guard at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language. However, he later tells the Guardian he was working as a security guard for a covert NSA facility at the University of Maryland. I don’t know how covert something is if you can Google it and search its website, but that’s what he said. He rises from to the post of security specialist. According to the school, that posiion is just an intermediate IT job.
2006: Around mid-year he got an IT job at the CIA. In July 2006, writing online under the username TheTrueHOOHA, Snowden boasted about landing the gig. “First off the degree thing is crap, at least domestically,” he wrote. “If you ‘really’ have 10 years of solid provable IT experience…you CAN get a very well paying IT job. I have no degree, nor even a high school diploma, but I’m making much more than what they are paying you even though I’m only claiming six years of experience.”
Six years of experience? That would mean that the CIA considered that his work experience dated to 2000, when he was a 16- or 17-year-old unemployed high school dropout. He must have lied to get the job. I lied once to get restaurant jobs and at a Sears, and probably many times, but this seems different, given that it was for a job with the CIA.
2006: Lindsay Mills, still attending MICA, comes into the picture around this time, according to a Washington Post article that I can’t find at the moment. She is working at Xpose Fitness in Arundel County, Maryland. This is a dance company and fitness gym that is centered around pole-dancing, and employees often competed at competitions at Luckie’s, a strip club.
We also know they started dating around this time because Snowden started talking online about his girlfriend and neighbors remember seeing Mills coming over to stay nights with him at his mom’s condo.
March 2007–February 2009:This is when things start to get confusing in terms of their timeline together. Snowden has said he was stationed with diplomatic cover beginning in early 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security. Snowden told the Guardian that his few years with the CIA “led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.”
Mills would still have been at MICA and presumably about to graduate at the end of spring semester. This is important to note because she once mentioned in her online blog that she and “E”, what she called him, rather cooly and distantly, had once been apart for nine months.
Lots of things happen to Snowden in Geneva. First of all, by his own online submissions, still under TheTrueHOOHA, he talked about how the Swiss were racist, rich and class-conscious. (Of course, he later claims he would love to return and possibly live in Switzerland.) He also claims that he became disillusioned about the U.S. and the CIA when watching the agency turned a Swiss banker by “framing” him for a DUI, a claim that appears to be bogus.
By this time, 2007-ish, things get weird on Mills’s timeline but she must have graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art. In her blogs and Instagram posts — she ceased them circa 2013 — she claims to have traveled to Europe once, although she doesn’t say where, and more remarkably claims she had lived in Guilin, China for some months.
In 2009, Snowden claims he quit the CIA job in Geneva, however two senior American officials have said he was let go because of insubordination and suspicion that he was trying to download information that he wasn’t supposed to have access to.
And where was Mills? Europe? China? Geneva? Maryland? By her account, she and “E” have only been apart for nine months but by the end of this period he had been in Geneva for two years. Mills’s movements during this period are kind of murky. She had lived in China for six months — she talked about how she wanted to go to Hong Kong but never got the chance and about meeting people who were vacationing in Guilin from Hong Kong. Did she have some sort of service industry job?
She also talked about meeting a mysterious man from New Jersey, saying they would spend Thursdays together taking long rides on his motorcycle and having deep conversations. Who was this guy? And where is Snowden?
March 2009-2013: In 2009 Snowden got a job with Dell, a NSA contractor. He and Mills moved to Japan together. They loved it there. His job with Dell changed and they want to transfer him to Hawaii. The couple move back to Maryland in 2010 while he trained for the new job.
In 2011, after a year of training in Maryland, they go to Hawaii, where he was a low-level computer analyst for Dell. In April 2012, based on the reliable news story I mentioned above, he started downloading documents describing the government’s surveillance programs.
Snowden was repeatedly counseled by managers regarding his behavior at work. For example, in June 2012 Snowden became involved in a fiery e-mail argument with his supervisor about how computer updates should be handled. Snowden added an NSA senior executive several levels above the supervisor to the e-mail thread, an action that earned him a swift reprimand for failing to follow proper protocol.
During this time, Mills is posting more and more “sexy” pics of herself online. (Read to the end of the story and see for yourself.) She also claims that Snowden doesn’t have much of a social life and she makes him go out with her and his co-workers. I ONCE SURMISED that she knew he was downloading material and maybe she was making his co-workers like him and trying to stay in the loop with them so that no one would suspect him of anything.
In March 2013, Snowden “seeks a new contractor job with Booz Allen Hamilton at the same NSA facility in Hawaii. He later tells the South China Morning Post that he did so to get additional access to classified documents he intends to leak.”
In May, Snowden takes sick leave and never returns. He tells “his NSA supervisor that he needs to take some time off to undergo treatment for epilepsy, which he was diagnosed with the previous year, according to the Guardian. He tells his girlfriend he will be away for a few weeks, but is vague about the reason.”
Snowden has said he arrived in Hong Kong on May 20. But according to the real estate company he was renting from in Hawaii and neighbors, he and Mills were out of the house by May 1.
Here are a few other things worth noting and let me again emphasize that I could never make the chronology fit and ended up TOTALLY DROPPING MILLS from the list of honeypot suspects.
—Before they moved to Hawaii in 2012, Edward and Lindsay took a little vacation to Hong Kong. Lindsay – who posts everything and documents all her travels — never mentioned this trip. Or if she did, she deleted anything related to it. Why? At one point I THOUGHT this trip was to scout and plan for Snowden’s escape to Hong Kong.
—When he initially got hired by the CIA as an undistinguished 24-year-old screwup, even he seemed surprised to have gotten the job, which was essentially out of his league. It made me wonder if this is when the “scheme” began, if there was a “scheme.” It was during this time that he met and started dating Mills, the hot dancer,
Superficially at least, this kind of screams set-up, in my opinion. Also during this time, he posted online model type pics of himself taken by Mills. All of this has to be a huge ego boost for him. All of a sudden he’s got a hot, dancer girlfriend and has shot up in the world of government intel security without any formal education.
—On March 4, 2013, Mills writes in her blog, “When I was a child most of my friends would play dress up and fantasize about being a princess, super man or pickle rancher……I would imagine being a spy.” This was around the time, give or take some months, that Snowden leaked.
—On March 1, 2013 promoting a show in which she performed as a spy, Mills posted, “Here’s hoping time and the Russians don’t catch up with me!” It almost SEEMED LIKE she was openly toying with her audience.
—Why wouldn’t the girlfriend of a notorious NSA leaker/whisleblower who had lived in Europe, China, Japan, and Hawaii not be more scrutinized by the media? Because oddly Mills was never much scrutinized, which is kind of bizarre.
—I talked to a lot of trusted sources for this story. Of course, no one claimed to know definitively if Snowden was set up by the Russians, nor do I. A number strongly believe he was played and I’ve aired their views throughout this series. A few don’t believe it. One skeptic, who I spoke to again recently, had this to say:
Human nature is human nature. It’s seeing how you get to places. Maybe he was played but there’s something else going on. He says he was outraged and that’s believable, because he knew about illegal acts. But he didn’t get asylum in Russia because he was good looking. They wanted information about the system and he gave it to them. My instinct tells me he became an agent. Whether he was one before or not, he is now and he delivered all the secrets in his possession to Russia. Otherwise he would be on a slow boat to China or somewhere else.
His making all that money from speeches has to be approved by the Russian government. If he wants to open a bank account to get the money from the speeches, that has to be approved too, or at least it’s not easy to do without approval.
He had great access and he might well have been shocked and outraged by what he saw because he knew about illegal acts committed under Bush and Obama. He doesn’t have the profile of a plant or a spy. But today he is 100 percent dependent on Putin’s good graces. Snowden is no [Kim] Philby, he was just a disgruntled employee who became a pawn in the Russia-U.S. game.
The Russians are smart and opportunistic. If they are playing cards they try to play with all 52, they don’t deal 26 if they don’t have to. He’s finished now; he’s a stooge.
—Here are a few pics that Lindsay posted of herself over the years. First…
This is a real pic of Lindsay next to the famous Russian honeypot Ekaterina Gerasimova. Curious.
And check this out. See that outward-facing book title, right near the center of the stack? “The Innocents.” It SEEMED when I first saw it that Mills was trolling us all. HARD.
—Anyway, you have to admit that all of this is curious but ultimately, as I have EMPHASIZED, I dropped Mills from my list of suspects. I still think there’s about a 50 percent chance Snowden was played without his knowledge by the Russians, for reasons I’ve explained in earlier stories, and that a honeypot might well have been the way he was snared. After all, who radicalized Snowden politically? A seductive, scantily clad female who boosted his confidence, listened to his whining and offered him a shoulder to cry on is the best guess.
I’m obviously not sure if that’s true and it it is, he was probably targeted and snared by a Westerner, not a Russian, who was an FSB asset and he never even suspected what was going on until after he landed in Moscow years later and came to slowly realize that Putin owned him, lock, stock and barrel. If it is true, I don’t know who the woman was.
And that’s it, unless more information becomes available.