Years, back, I filed a story describing an internal newspaper meeting and noted, in passing, that attendees were eating sandwiches. My editor asked what kind of sandwiches. I called back my source.
Such food-related details are a staple of journalistic reconstructions of private gatherings. As Edward Snowden's exact whereabouts remain unknown, news organizations have been busy piecing together his final days in Hong Kong. One particular dinner menu, provided by lawyer Albert Ho, has made the cut in several accounts.
For Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has acknowledged leaking numerous documents about American surveillance operations around the world, the path to a sudden departure from Hong Kong late Sunday began over a dinner days before of a large pizza, fried chicken and sausages, washed down with Pepsi.
Over pizza and chicken wings with his lawyers on Friday, his 30th birthday, Snowden agreed he had no choice. He would flee, and seek protection from the U.S. justice system elsewhere. He bought a plane ticket for Saturday night.
Over the weekend, Edward Snowden celebrated his 30th birthday in a most American way: with pizza and fried chicken, according to one of his lawyers.
For two hours that night, Snowden talked with his lawyers, who also included Jonathan Man, an associate at Ho's firm, and Robert Tibbo, a refugee human rights lawyer. To mark Snowden's birthday later that week -- he turned 30 Friday -- Ho brought over a large pizza and fried chicken. There was also Snowden's preferred beverage, Pepsi.
A team of lawyers, including Mr Ho, joined Mr Snowden on Tuesday to discuss his legal options and celebrate his 30th birthday, over pizza, fried chicken, sausages, and bottles of Pepsi. Before he would talk openly, Mr Snowden instructed all those present to put their mobile phones inside the refrigerator.
While Ho has clearly spoken to several major news outlets, WikiLeaks is advising against relying on him as a source.