20 May 20
dward Snowden’s story on disclosing some of the National Security Agency’s most sensitive surveillance programs has by now been oft told, by Snowden himself, among others.
Yet Barton Gellman’s new book, Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden And The American Surveillance State, makes a major contribution largely absent in the earlier efforts. Gellman offers the most detailed, comprehensive and balanced take on the impact of Snowden’s 2013 revelations and what they mean today, as the debate on national security versus individual privacy keeps evolving.
Snowden handpicked Gellman as one of three journalists to tell his story originally. Seven years after they first made contact, Gellman remains sympathetic to Snowden’s crusade to expose surveillance programs previously unknown to the American public. But throughout, Gellman offers a much broader perspective, rather than just one-sided advocacy.
“I think Snowden did substantially more good than harm, even though I am prepared to accept (as he does not) that his disclosures must have exacted a price in lost intelligence,” Gellman writes.