A report this afternoon has confirmed suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has taken steps to make his trove of NSA documents available to others in the event “anything happens” to him, in an effort to insure that any information he hopes to see disclosed will still be published.
From The Daily Beast:
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian Newspaper journalist Snowden first contacted in February, told the Daily Beast Tuesday that Snowden “has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published.” Greenwald added that the people in possession of these files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” But, Greenwald said, “if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives.”
The fact that Snowden has made digital copies of the documents he accessed while working at the NSA poses a new challenge to the U.S. intelligence community that has scrambled in recent days to recover them and assess the full damage of the breach. Even if U.S. authorities catch up with Snowden and the four classified laptops the Guardian Newspaper reported he brought with him to Hong Kong the secrets Snowden hopes to expose will still likely be published.
A former U.S. counter-intelligence officer following the Snowden saga closely said his contacts inside the U.S. intelligence community “think Snowden has been planning this for years and has stashed files all over the internet.” This source added, “At this point there is very little anyone can do about this.”
On Monday, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post revealed that Snowden sought his NSA contractor position with Booz Allen Hamilton specifically for the purpose of gathering evidence on the agency’s surveillance programs. The former NSA contractor told the paper that “his intention was to collect information about the NSA hacking into “the whole world” and “not specifically Hong Kong and China.” Snowden also hinted at possessing more documents that could be leaked at a later date.
If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.
In a live Q&A session that Snowden did with The Guardian on June 17th, Greenwald asked Snowden, “How many sets of the documents you disclosed did you make, and how many different people have them? If anything happens to you, do they still exist?” Snowden responded:
All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.