It took almost no time at all after Edward Snowden exposed some of the NSA's more questionable goings-on that a divide of public opinion could be seen. Some consider Snowden to be a national hero, while others consider him to be nothing more than a traitor. Some might even consider it a grave insult if Snowden were to be seen with an American flag, much less grasping it close to hits heart. Thanks to WIRED, we're soon to see if that's the case.
The feature in the magazine's latest issue is the result of WIRED traveling to Snowden's unknown community in Russia, and spending more than a half-of-a-week picking his brain. As one would no doubt expect, gaining access to Snowden was a monumental challenge - the "most wanted man in the world" has to take extreme precaution to make sure his whereabouts are unknown. As far as we're aware, even the NSA, with its vast amounts of intelligence, does not know his location.
WIRED's Scott Dadich wrote up a fantastic piece that helps clue us in better to these challenges. "Reflexively, I reached into my left pants pocket for my iPhone, but it wasn't there. For half a second, my heart fluttered, but then I remembered that I had left the phone at home so it couldn't be tapped."
Photo Credit: Platon / Wired
Like Snowden, Dadich couldn't let anyone except an exclusive few know where he was headed. His co-workers thought he was en route to Paris for a project. Had the government been able to catch on to any of Dadich's changing behaviors, his travels to Russia might have raised a couple of red flags. Dadich admits that while he's done many important cover shoots in the past, he considered this one to be the biggest of his life. Clearly, he would have never have had to swear to such secrecy for any other.
Whatever your thoughts or beliefs are on Snowden, he's a man that still proclaims his love of his country. Dadich sums-up a key moment of the photo session, "We returned to the prop table, and Snowden picked up the flag. Platon asked him what he'd do with it in a picture. Snowden held the flag in his hands and delicately unfolded it. You could see the gears turning as he weighed his year in exile against the love of country that motivated him in the first place."
One thing's certain: Snowden does not like where he is, but feels that there's no real justice waiting for him at home. "Platon said. “I hope I get to see you back at home, in the US.” Snowden looked straight at him as he threw his backpack over his shoulder and said, “You probably won't.”"