EDWARD SNOWDEN Pictured above: Not Edward Snowden
  • EDWARD SNOWDEN Pictured above: Not Edward Snowden

Given the Obama administration's unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers, it isn't surprising that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden—AKA the guy who committed "espionage" by letting us know how deeply the NSA's wormed into our lives—is now having to dress up to avoid detection in Russia. While it doesn't sound like Snowden's having to go as far as, say, Mrs. Doubtfire, Adi Robertson at The Verge points us toward some more info:

In an interview with Russian magazine Itogi and with RT television—translated in part by AFP—Snowden's lawyer and de facto spokesperson Anatoly Kucherena says fear for his safety has led Snowden to leave home only in disguise. "He would walk past you and you wouldn't recognize him," says Kucherena. "It's a question of clothes and small alterations to his appearance ... He really does walk freely around on the streets."

Kucherena goes on to note that Snowden's life is isolated, that he fears a visit from his parents due to suspicions that the US would track them, and that he's running out of money because he's having to pay for bodyguards in addition to living expenses. (Hell, if a country trying to track me down actually had to publicly cross-its-heart-and-hope-to-die that it wasn't going to kill or torture me, there probably wouldn't be much—not bodyguards, not a dead man's switch—that would keep me from feeling like every morning I might get a wake-up call from a drone.)

The thing that's most interesting about this, though, is the same thing that's interesting about every incremental bit of news about Snowden: it's a simple reminder that holy shit, Edward Snowden is hiding out. Literally hiding out! Right this very second! Possibly dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire!

Just as people stopped talking about Chelsea Manning, Snowden seems to be fading from the public discourse. Which means that Snowden's forced asylum is (1) A thing Americans totally know about, and (2) a thing Americans are, apparently, totally okay with. Snowden released information that should've been public in the first place, and his reward for doing so is fleeing to Russia, altering his appearance whenever he goes on a Stoli run, and only talking to his parents through his lawyer. When did we decide that this was okay? That this is just what happens to Americans when they speak out?