Louis Proyect: Snowden

By Louis Proyect, who has written for Sozialismus (Germany), Science and Society, New Politics, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Organization and Environment, Cultural Logic, Dark Night Field Notes, Revolutionary History (Great Britain), New Interventions (Great Britain), Canadian Dimension, Revolution Magazine (New Zealand), Swans and Green Left Weekly (Australia). Originally published at Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and John Ford, Oliver Stone is a true auteur—a director who puts his unique stamp on a body of work defined by a particular theme and aesthetic. In Stone’s case, it is the story of lost innocence as the protagonist discovers essential truths about himself and the debased American system he mistakenly believed in. In “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon”, the hero is a young man who joins the military to defend freedom in Vietnam only realizing in the end that he was a hired gun for Wall Street as Smedley Butler once put it. Landing a blue-chip job in that “Wall Street”, a young stockbroker decides that jail and a loss of a lucrative career is preferable to robbing ordinary working people with a fountain pen as Woody Guthrie put it in “Pretty Boy Floyd”. Even if “JFK” trafficked in wildly improbable conspiracy mongering, it shared their basic message, namely that the military-industrial complex and the big banks are enemies of peace and freedom.

After a long drought, Stone has made the kind of film he became famous for. Like Ron Kovic, the real-life hero of “Born on the Fourth of July”, Edward Snowden came from a family that embraced rightwing patriotic values. His father was a Coast Guard officer as was his maternal grandfather who became a senior FBI official after leaving the military and who was at the Pentagon on September 11th 2001.

Snowden enlisted in the Army to train for the Special Forces, an elite commando unit, but had to leave basic training after breaking both legs in exercises. He told the Guardian not long after he became a whistle-blower why he wanted to become a killer for Uncle Sam: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”, the same kind of beliefs that motivated Ron Kovic to join the Marines in September 1964.

In Stone’s classic films, there is an adrenaline rush of sensationalism that propels the films forward: gun battles in Vietnam, eye-popping decadence on Wall Street or the skullduggery of assassins determined (rather improbably) to get rid of a president who had decided to end American intervention in Vietnam.

I was wary about how Stone would treat Edward Snowden’s odyssey from gung-ho patriot to principled opponent of unlawful surveillance. Since sensationalism was part of the Oliver Stone brand name, I half-expected “Snowden” to have scenes of the hero ducking under gunfire like Matt Damon in the Jason Bourne movies, especially when we are told as the film begins that it was “inspired” by the Edward Snowden story.

The big surprise is that Stone has made his classic redemption film but without the sensationalism we have grown to expect, a sign that even a seventy-year-old director is capable of growth. (Is there hope for me?) “Snowden” is not a spy thriller. It is instead a story of the moral and political awakening of a hero wrestling with the yawning gulf between the patriotic beliefs he had held since boyhood and American assaults on both people in far-off lands and those living inside the “Shining City upon a Hill”. Like Ron Kovic, Edward Snowden became a radical—not so much in the sense of embracing Marxist ideology but in sacrificing everything he had treasured up to the point when he became a whistle-blower: his livelihood, his prestige as a high-powered security engineer, and—most of all—his citizenship. Risking the charge of espionage, he stood up for the right to privacy, a basic right we are supposed to enjoy in a democracy. If Orwell’s classic novel was forever linked with the words “Big Brother is Watching You”, Snowden risked becoming an “unperson” in 2013 because he would not accept Big Brother reading your email, listening in on your phone calls or any other forms of electronic surveillance.

The film is structured as a series of encounters with people in authority who violate his sense of elementary rights to privacy. When he is in a training class for the CIA, the instructor tells the class that President Bush has a green light to snoop on Americans without a warrant because the 2008 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 gives him that right. As Edward Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face takes on the look of someone being told that it is okay to use the Constitution as toilet paper, which is essentially what the amendment did.

Gordon-Levitt is not only a fine actor who conveys Snowden’s combination of nerdiness and boy scout like idealism but someone ideally suited to bring such a character to life. His father was the news director of the Pacifica station in Los Angeles and his mother was a Peace and Freedom candidate in the 1970s.

In addition to showing how Snowden was pushed to the limit by a Deep State that violated constitutional rights while using verbiage defending them, “Snowden” is a love story about his long-term relationship with Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley), a woman he met through an online dating service geared to computer geeks. As you can imagine, the stresses he dealt with working for agencies he rapidly began losing faith in put the relationship through the mill. Ironically, it was her liberal politics that first got Snowden doubting the patriotic ideology he lived by and finally led to his putting his life on the line. In the Trotskyist movement we used to call that “horizontal recruitment”.

The screenplay was co-written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald, a young screenwriter who has a BA in English from Harvard University. If he was responsible in some way for keeping “Snowden” close to the facts, he is to be commended.

If you’ve been watching “Mr. Robot” on the USA network, you’ll be familiar with the way a tale about hacking or whistle-blowing can become a peg to hang all sorts of paranoia and geek arcana upon. “Snowden” eschews any such temptations and instead focuses on the broader questions of privacy and accountability, matters that remain on the front burner given the government’s battles with Apple over bypassing the iPhone’s encryption features. It is very likely that if Snowden had not blown the whistle, Tim Cook would have given the FBI the green light.

Even if “Snowden” had been a lesser film, it was of major significance in putting the status of Edward Snowden on the front pages of newspapers and in the evening news. A campaign to pardon him has been launched by the ACLU to coincide with the film’s opening in major theaters everywhere. An op-ed in today’s NY Times co-authored by Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch and Salil Shetty, the secretary general of Amnesty International, makes the case for pardoning Snowden:

Since the United States canceled his passport, stranding him in the Moscow airport, Mr. Snowden has continued to demonstrate the principles that led him to disclose profoundly disturbing facts about surveillance overreach. He is the head of a human rights group, the Freedom of the Press Foundation; he’s developing technology to protect journalists in dangerous zones around the world from life-threatening surveillance; and he has frequently criticized the human rights and technology policies of Russia, the only country that stands between him and a high-security prison in the United States.

As should come as no surprise, the traditional rightwing views Snowden as a traitor. In a WSJ editorial, Hoover Institute fellow Josef Joffe regards Snowden as “the greatest counterintelligence disaster since the Rosenbergs and Klaus Fuchs, who betrayed America’s most precious nuclear secrets to Moscow.” What about Donald Trump, who has the reputation of being a friend of the Kremlin that is supposedly using Snowden as an asset? He told Fox News: “I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country — you know what we used to do to traitors, right?”

In an October 13, 2015 debate, Clinton was asked whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor. She said:

He broke the laws of the United States. He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.

Meanwhile, Jill Stein, a candidate who will be excluded from the debates, was clear about what Snowden deserved:

If elected president I will immediately pardon Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou for their important work in exposing the massive, systematic violation of our constitutional rights. I would invite them to the White House to publicly acknowledge their heroism, and create a role for them in the Stein-Baraka Green party administration to help us create a modern framework that protects personal privacy while still conducting effective investigations where warranted.

For some of my comrades, the name Jill Stein is associated with subservience to the Kremlin. Would her advocacy for Snowden be linked in some fashion with a conspiracy to advance Putin’s agenda and sap the strength of the USA, so necessary according to some leftists as a counterforce to Russia?

Maybe Edward Snowden is not the person such a conspiracy can rely upon:

Snowden is a man of integrity and principle. Oliver Stone has made a spellbinding film about one of our heroes. My choice for one of the best films of 2016.

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  1. Norb

    A pardon would be well deserved, but probably not forthcoming. The idea of a principled man of integrity free to express views contrary to the status quo is just too dangerous. The mistake always made by the general population is the elite are primarily protecting our rights. The rights of the people. This has been the Big Lie all along and becoming more untenable to maintain almost daily. A pardon would only be considered if the act could somehow be made to reinforce the anti-Russia messaging being spread by the media.

    It is very sobering to consider that all our freedoms are contingent on supporting the current economic system. Working on pushing the Overton Window to the left is a thankless process due to the handicap of not having tribute to distribute to your followers as incentive. Good will and principle are the strongest commodities readily available, and when in crisis, the most valuable. However, this is a disadvantage in movement building since buying people off is very effective. Violence and money is a powerful combination to overcome.

    Satisfying human needs is always at the root of political action. Power to determine resource allocation. Money and peaceful organization need to find breathing space to take hold. Hopefully, Oliver Stones movie about Snowden will provide the inspiration to motivate positive action in this direction. How we think about the world and imagine the possibilities is what matters. Having the freedom to do this without someone listening in on your efforts is the foundation of democratic freedom.

    1. Russell

      Noam Chomsky speaks from his office at MIT, often saying more incendiary things about the state of the USA. The USA is a Terrorist State in its own right, for instance. The US support for Israel which proves why the rape of innocence by someone like the Coach in PA is such a crime. The Israelis turn around and make a camp for the Palestinians. Might as well call Gaza Warsaw.
      I feel good in this hour. I count hours when I feel sort of strong? Or the pain is knocked back. What did I get done before I became sick? Andre` Lewin invited me to meet with him at the UN. I didn’t have the money to go. I failed. He died. We do not see truth on the TV. I worked at making UNTV a power like the rest of the channels. I wanted it there in the clicker to show up between MSNBC & Fox. Ted Turner said via his people that such did not make money. Went back to buffalo burgers.
      We are assured rights in the Constitution & The Bill of Rights. But it is our Institutions that make these promises real. The CIA has made itself into an Institution, though it was to serve at the pleasure of the President. Now the Security State, has leadership that lies and spies on Congress and gets away with it.
      Hey, Intelligence is one thing, Wisdom is another.
      Our Military, its Generals, swear to uphold the Constitution. JFK & 7 Days in May. They picked that to show on the TV the other day. We know now it had nothing to do with anything but JFKs rampant idealism and a personal relationship with Khrushchev. He was rearranging the Generals and working at ending the Cold War so he was murdered by Richard Helms & James Jesus Angleton, psychopaths. The coup is hard now to even trace for what way power was divvied up.
      You know what really happened when the Military and the CIA went whole hog for war and lies and Drug money Fronts. The spies, spooks as were they back then were always supposed to keep us out of real hot war, they were only allowed some mental tortures of each other playing mind control games to see if they worked.
      Edward Hallet Karr said you can lead an Institution from the top idealistically when the Institution is given a clear mission it was made to perform. The Armed Forces as an institution are there and practice at killing our enemies. Nation building is simply not their job.
      Maybe it is the Bill of Rights that set the tone of the US and gave it the successes it deserved, in spite of its approval for genocide to give the Union soldiers the chance at some pocket gold. My hero Grant approved. I am moved to look inwards for my own purchases.
      Ideas matter.
      I am what I believe. I believe I am equal to anyone no matter the medals or campaign ribbons, or riches. My name is stolen unlike that of Trump’s, protected by laws that give him money for it because he is a TV Star.
      But I tell you this: It was the United States Post Office that made this nation what it is today, or was, for awhile. The practical matter was that who really would want to entrust their sealed envelope to a mail delivery service if it could be opened by those who were entrusted to deliver it to whom it was addressed? The USPO was for awhile a patronage Cabinet position, till it was clear that only Merit ought count. More more often, 6 days a week. More business got done. More connections across great distances kept whole.
      I once believed that Communicating was the one most important thing I could do. In the little Lawrence OBrian small red dirt racist town, for me it was the FCC and the Post Office around which my life and ambitions revolved.
      And then how do you send anonymous money over distance? Well there is the USPO Money Order. It was seen as a real need for the regular everyday citizen.
      Pretty much my thesis is simple, we can have the words on paper, but how they are upheld in the System, is shown by how and what Our Institutions Believe and the Systems that come built with buildings all dedicated as Ours to Our Service that really, as a practical matter, make us whole.
      We are terrorized by Finance Banking in Collusion with those who believe the Treasury is theirs. What did we need the debt of the Fed really for? Wall St. thrives on Chaos and drought makes Chicago’s Mercantilists money. Bets on disasters and you get money, deeds.
      I was happy to see Bill Black say after the latest injustice of a big bank, We need USPO Service Banking. I swear I really see that as a mission worth even dying for. If I get to pick my fights, measure out my life as a poet warrior, I wish a poem about our Post Office was easier to write, but I could see dying to make that a reality.
      William James said “Democracy is Delicate”, you can say that for real when you know our own government works to destroy what is our most fantastic institution, the USPO.

  2. diptherio

    The relevant question is not whether Snowden deserves a pardon, but whether Bush, Obama, Clinton, Hayden, et al. deserve to be pardoned…I’m leaning towards ‘no’ right now…

  3. ScottW

    Saw the film yesterday and it is excellent. Spoke to a man in his 70’s who told me he agreed with Snowden, but he went too far in releasing military secrets. I had a sense this was the first time the man thought anything Snowden did was less than treasonous. It is a film everyone should watch–supporters and opponents of Snowden.

    It raises the question Obama has never been required to answer. Why is the man who lied to Congress and the public (Clapper) promoted while the person who exposed his lie sitting in exile?

    We know the answer, but I would give anything to see Obama grilled by a seasoned lawyer in a deposition style inquiry on that subject.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The greatest crime one can commit is to embarrass Obama. Clapper didn’t embarrass Obama. Snowden did.

  4. a different chris

    This sentence needs reworked. Sounds like he’s still a gung-ho patriot to me, in fact more so than he was before.

    >odyssey from gung-ho patriot to principled opponent of unlawful surveillance.

  5. Katharine

    “doubting the patriotic ideology he lived by”

    I object to the implication that Snowden’s development somehow involved ceasing to be a patriot. As far as I am concerned, defending what is best in the Constitution is the highest form of patriotism. My impression from what I have read and heard of Snowden’s statements is that he might agree. He was still motivated by love of country but had thought much more deeply about what that meant to him.

    1. Nelson Lowhim

      Well, we certainly will have to rethink and retake that word since the people who use it so effectively essentially mean either some reactionary white nationalism or an ode to the powers that be. I’m all for it, but the word as it stands does mean a specific thing in most people’s minds.

  6. John Wright

    If one wants an almost 100 year old example of a presidential political pardon, the case of Eugene V. Debs vs the US is interesting.


    Note: Wikipedia has:

    “Debs was noted for his oratory, and his speech denouncing American participation in World War I led to his second arrest in 1918. He was convicted under the Sedition Act of 1918 and sentenced to a term of 10 years.”

    But more digging found:

    “Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for his antiwar speech in Canton, Ohio, on June 16, 1918. In that speech, Debs made no reference to the war or President Woodrow Wilson’s conduct of the war. He confined his remarks to a general socialist critique of war as a product of capitalism. Nonetheless, he was convicted. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction and ten-year prison sentence in Debs v.United States (March 10, 1919).”

    The Supreme Court was unanimous in upholding the sentence.

    Actor Mark Ruffalo reads the Canton speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuGp-0G1p4M

    At the 1918 trial, Debs said “It may be expedient for the government at war to imprison Eugene Debs. From their point of view it may seem prudent and necessary. But I wonder if there are not some among them who have qualms when it comes to such an act — in a war for liberty. I wonder if they ever sense the danger that when the war is done, they may find left only the name of what they were fighting for. Across the face of the County Court House, as the train pulls out of Cleveland, you read in great marble letters this motto: “Obedience To Law Is Liberty.” And by means of just such fatuous sophisms as that, the powers that want industrial feudalism and bureaucracy perpetuated after this war ends, will get it if they can.”

    Woodrow Wilson was asked to pardon Debs, but he refused.

    But newly elected President Harding felt compelled to do this.

    “President Harding pardoned him on the condition that he would get to meet Debs at the White House. Harding greeted him by saying “I have heard so damned much about you.”

    I can’t imagine Obama pardoning Snowden (just as Woodrow Wilson would not pardon Debs) furthermore, I can’t foresee either Clinton or Trump doing following Harding’s example.

    See also http://debsfoundation.org/

    1. fresno dan

      John Wright
      September 17, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Thanks! Most informative and pertinent to the issue.
      PAUL SIMON: “When I think back On all the crap I learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all”
      Warren Harding a better man than Woodrow Wilson?! At least when I was a kid, I remember Wilson being portrayed in a most hallowed light. It makes me wonder if current textbooks have caught up to what an as*hole he was…

  7. sd

    An interview with Oliver Stone.

    Oliver Stone On ‘Snowden’ And How Spy Movies Today Are Glorified Propaganda

    The interview covers a range of topics including the propaganda effect of movies on actual events. At several points throughout the interview, he repeats, ‘…read Seymour Hersch….’ For an accurate account of how Osama bin Laden was actually assassinated.

    The Killing of Osama bin Laden

    I admit to not having read Hersch’s book. I think a trip to the library is in order.

  8. JamesG

    During Germany’s “Red Army Faction” terror years the German government’s counter terrorists people did the following.

    They compared a mass of data containing apartment rental information with another mass of data containing electricity usage in apartments.

    That exercise yielded a small number of apartments for which rent was paid but no electricity was used.

    There are a few benign explanation for empty apartments. The owner/leassee had died and the estate was not yet settled, the owner was on an extended vacation, the owner had transferred to London, Paris, New York, etc. or the owner was a rich philanderer whose love nest was temporarily empty.

    There was one non-benign explanation. The empty apartment was a terrorists’ safe house.

    Terrorists were apprehended as a result of this exercise.

    All of the non-terrorists whose information was gathered by the government were not harmed by this exercise.

    You cannot connect dots unless you collect dots.

    Sorry, but when senior professionals say young Mr Snowden has done harm I believe them.

    1. 1 kings

      Definition of ‘harm’ please. The personal harm of Hayden and his cohorts?… He seems to have made out quite well, financially and professionally. All surveillance today is ‘horse leaving the barn’, post-crush whomever reveals ‘secrets’.

      And the German counter-terrorists post WW1 were future Nazi sympathizers, if not actual Munich putsch’ers.

    2. 1 kings

      Definition of ‘harm’ please. The personal harm of Hayden and his cohorts?… He seems to have made out quite well, financially and professionally. All surveillance today is ‘horse leaving the barn’, post-crush whomever reveals ‘secrets’

    3. Plenue

      > young Mr Snowden

      “Why won’t these damn young people just do what they’re told?! Elders know best!”

    4. ambrit

      What about all the data collection exercises that were and are not public knowledge? How can the public evaluate the ‘honest mistakes’ from the ‘corrupt actions’ of government sponsored actors when so much information is suppressed? The German example you trot out is noteworthy because it is public knowledge. The flip side of that example is; how many otherwise ordinary, if flawed, Germans are being blackmailed into working for the German State security services because their philandering ways were discovered as a result of this data mining? The reason for laws is the basic imperfection of the human animal. When laws and customs are flouted, it only gives power to one faction of the Imperfect.
      When senior ‘professionals’ pontificate, I always look for who benefits thereof. Yes, Snowdon has ‘done harm.’ That ‘harm’ is in the public’s benefit.
      Good for Snowden.

    5. don bright

      Lets go back 30 more years before that time, to the days of the National Socialist terrorists in Germany, where they made databases of everyone in the country using punched-card computer systems. One of the holes in their punched card system was for “Jew” and those numbers they tattooed on them were database keys. In one of their data processing centers there was a guy named Renee Carmille, and he sabotaged the machinery so that they couldn’t properly count who was a Jew and who wasn’t. According to Edwin Black in his book “IBM and the Holocaust”, this is one of the reasons that the Jewish people of France were spared the fate of Jewish people in Poland – because Carmille destroyed the German government’s surveillance system.

    6. anonymous

      And then there is “IBM and the Holocaust”, “The Lives of Others”, “Purge”, “Nazi Census”, “The First Circle”, and dozens of other books showing the harm caused to ordinary people by mass surveillance.

    7. anony moos

      i cant get my comment to publish but… yeah. i can agree with you because i read “ibm and the holocaust”

  9. bob

    Broken legs, or ‘shin splints’?

    How much did GG get paid for continuing to keep the lions share of the leaks and dripping them out over the next few decade?

    Hollywood vs the security state? Sure, that’s what they want you to believe.

    It may have started with some good intentions, but the vultures are circling, and now they have a movie. History has been recorded. All irrelevant or inconvenient facts, *inspired* by a true story are now subject to debate with a screen.

    1. Jamie

      I notice no mention ever of the coup in the Ukraine on the Intercept website. It must be off-limits, given the owner of the rag is Pierre Omidyar who helped finance the right-wing neo-nazi groups in the Ukraine. Glen is laughing to the bank!

    2. Waldenpond

      The history making fact that whistleblowing was monetized/privatized didn’t get a mention in the movie?

      1. Captain Rock

        Saw a twitter rant about this the other day giving details about Greenwalds links to Koch funded Libertarian groups and the curious fact that ~90% of the Snowden documents still haven’t been released and how Snowden doesn’t seem to have anything to say about the just as pervasive Microsoft/Google/Apple spying. Not that that there is some grand libertarian conspiracy to distract us from corporate spying by discrediting the government but the way in which the disclosures have been handled is certainly interesting. For example, all this dirt from Colin Powell’s emails, for at least a few folks at Google there was nothing new, they has access to them all along.

  10. Anon

    Hmmm. Trolling during the lunch hour will put mustard on your shirt (if not the keyboard).

    GG gets a salary, as does Clapper. You don’t pay into GG’s, but you do to Clapper’s. Clapper is the real thief. He steals your money and your “freedoms”.

  11. Felix_47

    Broken legs occur with a lot of trauma. You can`t walk with a broken leg. Deconditioned Americans who go to basic training have a lot of problems with stress fractures which are microfractures without bone displacement and are characterized by pain with running or repetitive weight bearing. It is a major cause of disability, disability compensation and lack of readiness in the military. Since a lot of it is subjective there are no tests or exams that unequivocally can determine physical fitness other than what the patient says. Some get better and function and many, many get out and take disability compensation. It is thought the increasing problems with it in the Army relate to poor conditioning of the average recruit prior to coming in and financial incentives combined with the realization by some soldiers that they do not want to be in the military. That being said I think Jill Stein is on the right track. There are many ways to serve the country….if the national state concept is to be continued which I doubt…….Too bad Bernie chose not to join her. They would have crushed the terrible candidates we have.

      1. Vatch

        The U.S. government says one thing, and Snowden says something else. I don’t know who is telling the truth, although Clapper’s history of perjury leads me to suspect that Snowden is more truthful. Can you provide a reliable source for the shin splints claim? Here’s a short article that discusses this:


        Snowden said:

        Army held me for weeks in a special unit for convalescence before separation. I left on crutches. They don’t do that for “shin splints.”

          1. Nelson Lowhim

            Well, which one was it, then? Shin Splints or broken legs? Could have been something like minor fractures. That happens. If it was basic training, then it could have happened on an obstacle course or during the course of carrying a ruck. I will say that for some out of shape people it’s hard, but if he only went Basic (not SF selection), then it’s not incredibly hard.

          2. Vatch


            I don’t view the world as black and white only, with no shades of gray or colors. If you reread what I wrote, you’ll see that I said that I don’t know what the truth is. And you didn’t answer my question about providing a reliable source. Or any source.

            1. Felix_47

              Vatch, Isuppose you could read up on stress fracture anywhere on the internet. I work with them every day. For some patients they are significant and they never get better. The diagnostic criteria are fuzzy because there is a huge subjective component. However bone scans show changes. Most likely if we bone scanned everyone who is exercising we would pick up changes though since the bone structure reacts to stress. So if you ran four miles and you had not before and we scanned your legs a day or two later even without symptoms we probably would pick up increased uptake. It is part of the bodies way of strengthening bones in response to mechanical stress. We talk about stress fractures when there are symptoms and some of these cases, if they are not rested can go on to displaced fractures and in some vulnerable areas we even pin them. That being said stress fractures are an exagerated normal reaction to mechanical stress. The military puts them on crutches and the vast majority are kept in basic on a physical limitation profile and the graduate. In Snowdon`s case he seemed to want to do SF as a reservist. It is competitive and his chances of making it were low to start with and after he was unable to participate for six weeks his chances were even lower. For SF selection many factors are looked at some of which are physical fitness but also mental fitness, peer relations (they even eliminate based on peer reviews), and multiple other factors. Certainly it sounds more sexy to talk about fractures than getting “peered” as an example. But had he healed and had he tried hard enough he could have reapplied.

        1. Felix_47

          More likely than not stress fractures which are not “broken bones” in the colloquial sense. It is a language problem. They are painful areas that light up on bone scan. In very rare cases they can progress to displaced fractures. They are commonly treated with crutches for six weeks or so. There are no long term effects.

        2. Skippy

          The report about jumping out of a bunk creating the injury of any sort would disqualify Snowden from just about any front line MOS.

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