Snowden Says He’s Empty-Handed in Russia

The former government contractor says there's 'zero percent chance' that Russians or Chinese have access to surveillance documents he leaked to reporters in June

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Glenn Greenwald / Laura Poitras / The Guardian / Reuters

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, in his hotel room in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said he entered Russia without any secret NSA files, according to a new interview in the New York Times.

The 30-year-old whistleblower who leaked classified documents on the U.S.’s surveillance of phone and online communications in June said he handed over all documents to journalists who he met in Hong Kong before fleeing to Russia and kept no copies for himself “because it wouldn’t serve the public interest” to do so.

“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” he told the Times in an interview that took place over several days last week through encrypted online communication.

Snowden said he was able to secure the stolen files from Chinese spies because he knows the limitations of Chinese intelligence operations. While serving as a NSA contractor, he targeted Chinese intelligence and taught a course on Chinese cyber counterintelligence. 

He also addressed a recent report that claimed his personnel evaluation while at the Geneva C.I.A. station included a comment on suspicions of Snowden attempting to break into unauthorized files, contending that the comment was punishment for his attempt to warn the C.I.A. about computer security vulnerability.

Snowden declined to discuss his living arrangements in Russia, where he’s allowed to remain for one year, except to say that he was no longer under Russian authorities’ control and was free to move about inside the country.

[The New York Times]

14 comments
SamuelClemens
SamuelClemens

Right, this guy is so brilliant he can make monkeys out of the best cyber-attackers in the world, the Chinese. Any security professional knows that claim in itself to be absurd. Bet he also carries out sneak attacks on Seal teams just show them how it is really done.

mys2950
mys2950

Oprah Winfrey has devoted many hour and finances to aid the girls in Africa to have an education..  All of that is devoted to the welfare of these girls.  That is a great laudatory effort,  and we must congratulate her.

However,  why don't people like Oprah and many other humanitarians take up the same cause in our innner cities?  You may say why do I even care?  Simple.!  Better education makes for a strong government.  Seems simple.    


racerkoi
racerkoi

"...no longer under Russian authorities’ control and was free to move about inside the country."

Maybe the Russians will grant him a security clearance so he can work for them?   Let's see how THAT works out.

CameronL.Spitzer
CameronL.Spitzer

Dissent is patriotic.  Nationalism is idiotic.  Snowden and Ellsberg are patriots of the most courageous kind.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Gee, Americans are supposed to believe him after he left to go first to Communist China and then Russia. Efforts to paint Snowden as some sort of heroic whistleblower fail to grasp that what he has done that has harmed the country and our military and intelligence assets while making it harder to fight the ongoing war on terrorism. How different than a US CIA spy going over to the other side. Snowden has become a man without a country who will be hunted for teh rest of his life.

The GOP and Congress that bought into the Patriotic Act and accepted the actual illegal domestic spying and warrantless wiretapping that took place under Bush Administration cannot suddenly act surprised that all the billions spent and the explosion of the top-secret industry under Bush-Cheney that went over one million government and civilian contractors might actually abuse their power or lack sufficient oversight.


MichaelSweden
MichaelSweden

This techie knows what he's doing. The US is fearful of taking him out or arresting him because, he has arranged some sort of trip-wire, that will automatically make a lot of sensitive information public, if that happens.

On the issue of principal: There is only a small fraction of all traditions codified into law. One such tradition related to democracy, vital for its functioning, is the tradition for the public to access public documents. It is understood that, related to this tradition, that the government should only protect a small fraction of information and documents of the total amount. These are the ones that are secret. What has not been codified into law is what percentage of documents that legally can be made secret. 5%? 25%? 75? I argue that only a very few percent or even fraction of a percent, can be made secret. Now the US is making hundreds of millions of documents secret.. Violating the principle of public access. This is making it impossible for the public to evaluate the people working for them. In essence making it harder to change policy's and replace the people they don't like. Seriously harming the principle of democracy itself. Because democracy is according to Karl R. Popper to be able to change government without having to use force through general elections.

Is the government working for the people or is it the other way around?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

A traitor to his country, one who broke all vows and affirmations to keep thing secret and confidential and didn't, telling us that there's "zero percent chance" those who definitely do not have the best interests of the United States at heart have no access to the stuff he sold to them in exchange for "sanctuary" and in whose hands he's placed the data tells us not to worry.

God, the moron is delusional if he thinks anyone with three functioning brain cells left in their heads believe him.

SamuelClemens
SamuelClemens

@CameronL.Spitzer Ah, so was Benedict Arnold who attempted to alert the fools in the more southerly colonies that they were about to become victims of tyranny. Loyalty has a price and he heroically paid it.

mys2950
mys2950

@ThomasHall Well,  of course the problem with Congress has a long history with both parties signing on.

SamuelClemens
SamuelClemens

@MichaelSweden Goody, let's declassified everything about the nuclear arms stockpile: how to make them, where the parts come from, the scientific knowledge need to make each one, current and planned location, life cycle maintenance, and good stuff like that. What are you afraid of? Oh, and let's turn all tax records loose. I mean it would have been lovely to find out that Mitt Romney had been fined for the "son of boss" scam.There is always a case for no limits.

RandyCoots
RandyCoots

@DeweySayenoff Other than some news reports and claims by 'undisclosed' intelligence agents who were quoted by these news agencies, there is no evidence, or even a claim from the US Government that he had in fact leaked sensitive documents to the Chinese or Russians. 

I would think  that had he in fact leaked information to them, the US Attorney General would have charged him with that, because  that would strengthen their case considerably against him.

In this country a person is innocent until proven guilty, and I like to think  that we actually adhere to this principle. As far as I'm concerned, until he is proven to be guilty of this, I believe him. 

It isn't rocket science to encrypt data on a computer and make it impossible to break without the key or password. And someone who really wants to save their information would use multiple levels of encryption to further secure  the data. The only risk to  that security at that point would be the encryption key used. 


SamuelClemens
SamuelClemens

@RandyCoots @DeweySayenoff A) You are NOT innocent until proven guilty while still committing a crime. B) Encryption is not perfect, especially under duress. C) Obviously he has leaked sensitive information, it is what keeps this story alive. D) It strains credulity that having spent three months violating every possible term of employment this guy didn't suck in everything he could. I would expect he went after encryption codes and keys - the mother lode.

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