Last week, several media outlets obtained leaked information that revealed that the United States government, in collaboration with several major corporations, has been secretly collecting a metric fuckton of data on its citizens without their knowledge or consent, all as part of a Bond villainesquely named program called PRISM. As it turns out, the only thing standing between lil' old us and continued obliviousness to Orwellian dystopian creep was bespectacled 29-year-old Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden, who chose to publicly reveal his identity as the brave little leaker yesterday. Good for him. Good for us. But very, very bad for Snowden's live-in girlfriend, who just experienced a de facto breakup of historically shitty proportions.
I know shouldn't trivialize FREEDOM and RIGHTS and our collective STRUGGLE TO PRESERVE THE CONSTITUTION by focusing on hurt feelings left in the wake of bravery — what Snowden did was arguably the most important leak in recent American history, a courageous professional kamikaze that made the public aware of just how superfucked we are, all at great personal cost to himself. According to the Guardian, the career intelligence employee had planned the leak for months, copying documents, sneaking around, subjecting himself to multiple one-on-one conversations with the probably-exhausting Glenn Greenwald. Finally, once he reached Zero Hour, Snowden told his work supervisors that he needed to take medical leave, told his girlfriend that he had to go away for awhile on a work-related trip, and flew one-way to Hong Kong, where he's been hiding out in a hotel ever since. And there he'll remain until the government figures out a way to bring him back to the US and throw him in jail forever.
But other people can talk about how awesome Snowden is for doing what he did, and if that's what you're interested in hashing and rehashing and double super rehashing, there are plenty of places to do that today. Right now, I'm kind of worried about his girlfriend. You know, the one who thought he was on a work trip only to find out that he was actually basically Jean Valjean and that she'd probably never ever see him again. Is it worse if your partner goes out for cigarettes never to return, or if he goes out to sacrifice himself in the name of preserving the constitution? Either way, you still have to go through the humiliating exercise of changing your Facebook status to SINGLE.
Things sound even worse for Edward Snowden's girlfriend when you consider how obscenely great their pre-leak life sounded. According to the Guardian, before this gumflapping business, most would describe Mr. Snowden and Ms. Snowden-in-sin's existence as "sweet-ass." The couple lived in an adorable little blue rental house in Hawaii, and Edward made about $200,000 per year working for a company that contracted with the CIA. And, to go off on a completely non-fact checked tangent: I bet they had one of those couches with the attached chaise lounge and circular pillows that look like giant peas. All of their drinks were served in coconuts and they slept in a canopy bed beneath a skylight open to the stars and their breakfast was made by a Rube Goldberg machine like the kind utilized by Paul Reubens in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. An indoor trampoline. A library with ladders and a spiral staircase and a big leather chair. Did they have a monkey butler who wore a double breasted jacket? Probably. In my imagination, they had all kinds of cool junk, and the kind of life a long-suffering teenage nerd could really wave around a high school class reunion.
Anyway, that's all over now. The NSA has already visited the girlfriend inquiring about Snowden's whereabouts. In an article in the Telegraph, neighbors of the couple are talking mad shit about the two of them, several remarking on how weird it was that Edward kept a stack of boxes in the garage — ("He had a lot of boxes in his garage which blocked it off and there was just a little gap to walk through." "Many times my husband and I commented 'Why do you think they haven't gotten rid of their boxes?' You know most people, they move in and they get rid of their boxes.") and at least one surmising that Edward must not have wanted his identity to be known, since he wore baseball caps all the time (related: all people who wear baseball caps are spies, which explains Giants pitcher Brian Wilson's ongoing bizarre behavior). They kept to themselves. They were mean. You know, exactly what you'd expect Monday Morning Quarterbacking idiot neighbors to say after they discovered they lived next door to a guy with high level intelligence clearance.
And shade-throwing locals are the least of Snowden's girlfriend's concerns — this poor woman's life is about to take a pantsless nightmarish turn in the hands of the 24-hour news cycle. The media has mercifully refrained from revealing her identity thus far (although the Telegraph identified her as "blonde"), but never underestimate the shittiness of the media — it's only a matter of time before the girlfriend's unsuspecting face is splashed across the cover of the New York Post with a clumsy pun emblazoned across it (suggestion: THE LEAK WHO LOVED ME or SQUEAL LOVE). It's safe to say that her cohabitational relationship is functionally over, at least for the foreseeable future. She can likely kiss her privacy goodbye and bet her bottom dollar that if she's ever sent her paramour a picture of her unveiled swimsuit parts, someone in Langley, VA has already seen it. And all because she made the mistake of hitching her wagon to the star of a guy willing to throw it all away for pro-privacy principles. Even the good guys are bad for us, ladies. Men! Amirite?
Cathy cartoon style joking aside, it's not all bad. Once she's ready to date again, there's always OKCupid.
That poor woman.