No matter what you think of Edward Snowden — heroic whistleblower or straight-up traitor — it’s hard to deny that the post-leak escapades of the former CIA/NSA contractor has been one part international intrigue (Hong Kong! Russia! Julian Assange!), one part tabloid freak show (the pole-dancing, purple prose-spewing jilted girlfriend) and one last part slow-motion chase that’s made white Bronco on the 405 seem like high-speed daredevilry. It’s as if we’re all playing a very drawn-out game of Risk (from a purely strategic standpoint, his best route was clearly China > India > Middle East > Egypt > North Africa > Brazil > Peru/Ecuador)
As of press time, Snowden was still the world’s public enemy/persona non grata/cause celebre No. 1 — and single-handedly reawakening the world to the vagaries of Carmen Sandiego.
As the world ponders empty plane seats, red pandas, and whether Snowden even exists (or, at least if he’s much more than a convenient distraction for the massive domestic spying program that’s somehow not the main story anymore), we’ve decided to play oddsmakers with the location of Snowden’s ultimate prairie dog-like re-emergence for the office pool that, like us, you most certainly have most of your liquid assets tied up in at this very moment.
1.5 to 1: Ecuador
No, you won’t win big going with the consensus hotspot for today’s active cable leaker, but given that every outlet is reporting this as Snowden’s eventual destination, it’s a fairly safe bet, especially given President Rafael Correa’s distaste for the U.S. in the wake of previous Wikileaks revelations. Fun side bet: When will lily-white Edward succumb to sun poisoning in this equatorial paradise?
5 to 1: The Airport
With his U.S. passport reportedly revoked, Snowden is more or less Tom Hanks’s Viktor Navorski from The Terminal — a man suddenly without a country. Could he live out his days confined to the international terminal of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, never to return to his figurative Krakozhia?
10 to 1: Siberia
Though Vladimir Putin has certainly enjoyed poking his finger in the U.S.’s fresh NSA wound by having Eddie AWOL in his country, if Snowden sticks around too long, he’ll become more trouble than he’s worth. Russia’s favorite place to disappear folks is it’s Great White Northeast, which would be poetic (justice?) given the homonymic nature of Snowden and “snowed in.”
1,000 to 1: A Soundstage in the Nevada desert
Come to think of it, Snowden is almost too perfect a name for the snow job his international wild goose chase is wreaking on coverage of the undeniably bigger story, that of the NSA’s PRISM spying program. Like the moon landing and Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, the greatest moments in our nation’s history have been completely scripted. Good news: You win big if it turns out Snowden’s just some actor helping the Obama administration deflect attention from its Big Brotherly tendencies. Bad news: If this is true, we will never, ever know it.
1,000,000 to 1: The Grays Ferry McDonald’s
There is a better chance of my cat Mr. Bean winning at Powerball than of Edward Snowden giving up his fugitive status in the manner of the dearly departed Ol’ Dirty Bastard — outed by a fan while ordering a cheeseburger in Grays Ferry — but a boy can dream, can’t he?