In 2013, Edward Snowden gained international notoriety by exposing the vast spying capabilities and information network of the National Security Agency. Snowden was born in North Carolina, had a family history of civil service, and became a whistleblower when he realized that the government was using the guise of terrorism defense for “…economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.” (1)

According to Journalist Josh Barro, Snowden’s revelations went far beyond revealing Americans’ violations of privacy and included vital intelligence information about topics like “…U.S. hacking of Chinese computer systems; U.S. spying on Russian President Dmitri Medvedev during the 2009 G20 summit London (and simultaneous British surveillance of other targets); the existence of 80 NSA listening stations around the glove, including one in Berlin which was used to monitor the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and much more.” (2) Official calls to prosecute Snowden went beyond criminal accusations and a former head of the CIA, James Woolsey, even stated that Snowden should be prosecuted for treason and “If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.” (3)

In the years since these revelations, there was legitimate reason to question Snowden’s patriotism and motivations. But that has all changed with the release of the Durham Report, officially titled “Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns” on May 12, 2023. The results of this four year investigation by Special Counsel John Durham have left no doubt that a major percentage of our leaders are corrupt and using the intelligence agencies like a political gestapo.

During and after the 2020 election, we heard the media repeat the claim over and over that there was no election interference and on Nov. 12, 2020, officials from two Department of Homeland Security committees — the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council overseeing cybersecurity – stated that “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.” (4) This is an absurd claim that deserves scrutiny, considering the same people were saying in 2016 that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election.

It was out of these claims that the special investigation by John Durham began. When Trump was gaining a lot of popularity on the political scene, a phony report called the “Steele Dossier” began circulating. Christopher Steele was a former British Intelligence agent who claimed that a Russian informant named Igor Danchenko alleged “salacious sexual activity” on Trump’s part. The official report states:

“According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton, where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform ‘golden showers’ (urination) shows in front of him. The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to. The Ritz Carlton episode involving TRUMP reported above was confirmed by Source E, a senior (western) member of staff at the hotel, who said thats/he and several of the staff were aware of it at the time and subsequently. S/he believed it had happened in 2013. Source E provided an introduction for a company ethnic Russian operative to Source F, a female staffer at the hotel when TRUMP had stayed there, who also confirmed the story.” (5)

So to clarify, some hotel workers told a Russian informant, who then told a British intelligence agent, who then told the FBI, who leaked to the media that Donald Trump was compromised by Russian intelligence agents because he paid prostitutes to urinate in a bed that the Obama’s slept in while staying in Russia. By the time this information reached the geniuses at the FBI, it had already been (at minimum) third-hand intelligence that was still raw and unverified, but they still decided to allow this information to spread. Further investigation revealed that it was a lie that was KNOWINGLY perpetuated for political purposes.

To make matters more interesting, the Clinton family are right at the center of all this drama. According to the Durham Report, Clinton Campaign associates hired a Washington D.C.-based investigative firm named Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump and his associates. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele and his U.K. based firm to investigate Trump-Russia ties.

This brings up a lot of other issues when considering the political history of our privacy and intelligence agencies. These revelations in the Durham Report and Steele Dossier might seem shocking, but this is how the intelligence agencies have been operating since their founding. An organization which has been caught in multiple lies does not deserve trust to begin with, but the FBI, CIA, and NSA have been caught in so many lies and are so verifiably corrupt at this point that they should probably never be trusted again.

Now, amid all the confusion, the popular conservatives are trying to appeal to the Southern tradition. We have seen calls for a “National Divorce” from politicians like Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and open discussion of secession in various media outlets in recent months. On FOX News and on Twitter, Greene has made statements like “National Divorce is not civil war, but becoming a necessary reality because of our irreconcilable differences…We must shrink the federal government, give the power back to the states, and separate by red and blue.”(6)

These ideas are nothing new. The Abbeville Institute hosted a conference in Texas discussing the revival of secession and state nullification in 2018, while various organizations have been openly discussing “national divorce” for more than two decades. The recent talk of these ideas is further proof that the Southern tradition of limited government and decentralization is alive and well, and Americans truly resonate with these concepts. In the last few years, we have witnessed our government evolve from a massive surveillance state into a technocratic, scientific dictatorship that relies on coercion, blackmail, and lies to exist. It will be interesting to see how all of the talks of a peaceful divorce will work out.

1. “Edward Snowden’s ‘open letter to the Brazilian people'” The Guardian (December 17, 2013)
2. “Here’s Why Edward Snowden Deserves A Long Prison Sentence” Business Insider (January 6, 2014)
3. “ ‘It’s still a capital crime’: Ex-CIA head James Woolsey said he’d like to watch Edward Snowden be hanged for treason” Daily Mail (November 20, 2015)
4. Yes, Department of Homeland Security declared Nov. 3 election most secure in American history Politifact (November 17, 2020)
5. Durham Report, pages 154-155, May 12, 2023
6. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Twitter

Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a teacher and independent historian currently residing in Eastern North Carolina. He's the author of Southern Grit: Sensing the Siege of Petersburg from Shotwell Publishing and you can find more of his work on his YouTube channel, Truth Decay.

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