Hillary Clinton's recent attack on Edward Snowden was cited by my colleague Peter Beinart as an example of her newfound ability to exude authenticity in public statements. "She said something some liberals will not like—that America needs to spy and that Snowden’s motives are suspect—but which she undoubtedly believes," Beinart wrote. "It sounded authentic because her natural instincts are to see the world as a Hobbesian place and to defend America’s governing institutions against those on the right or left who would delegitimize them."
Beinart is right: There is every reason to believe Clinton authentically distrusts Snowden and his actions. So I concur with his analysis of those sentiments. But elsewhere in the same interview, Clinton spoke words that Democratic primary voters ought to take as evidence that she is a bullshitter. Mother Jones gives this account of Clinton's words:
Hillary Clinton didn't have to directly deal with Edward Snowden's leaks when she was secretary of state. Clinton had already stepped down from her post by the time the Guardian published its first revelations on the expansive scope of spying by the National Security Agency. But at an event at the University of Connecticut ... Clinton made it clear that she's no fan of the NSA leaker, insinuating that Snowden had cooperated with countries hostile to the United States and unintentionally aided terrorist organizations. "I don't understand why he couldn't have been part of the debate at home," she said.
Clinton questioned Snowden's intentions in fleeing the country before offerring his information to the public. "When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled, because we have all these protections for whistleblowers," Clinton said, when the moderator asked if there had been any positive effects for security policy following the NSA leaks. "If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been."
This gets significant facts wrong. At best, Clinton is ignorant about federal whistleblower laws, and if we presume that she has the baseline knowledge needed to be competent in her former roles, she is willfully misleading her audience.