Two thoughts. First, reading about Snowden’s reasons for enlisting in the military and then whistle-blowing on the NSA made me think about ideology. On the one hand, ideology rationalizes the violence of the status quo (e.g. Bush’s appeal to “liberating Iraq”), so that naked power is veiled as judicious decency. On the other hand, it creates a tension between what the status quo actually does vs. what citizens think it does. By propagating the highest ideals of democracy (as cover for its violence), the US gov’t has given us a standard against which to criticize it. In short: hypocrisy is always in danger of collapsing.
Second, it’s surreal to read his story and realize that John LeCarre novels are pretty much realistic depictions of how secret intelligence works.