Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Snowden took no files with him to Russia

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Snowden actually seems to have handled his disclosures quite responsibly. In this report by James Risen in the NY Times, he offers some new information and insights, among them:

Mr. Snowden said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself. He did not take the files to Russia “because it wouldn’t serve the public interest,” he said.

“What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?” he added.

And:

He argued that he had helped American national security by prompting a badly needed public debate about the scope of the intelligence effort. “The secret continuance of these programs represents a far greater danger than their disclosure,” he said. He added that he had been more concerned that Americans had not been told about the N.S.A.’s reach than he was about any specific surveillance operation.

“So long as there’s broad support amongst a people, it can be argued there’s a level of legitimacy even to the most invasive and morally wrong program, as it was an informed and willing decision,” he said. “However, programs that are implemented in secret, out of public oversight, lack that legitimacy, and that’s a problem. It also represents a dangerous normalization of ‘governing in the dark,’ where decisions with enormous public impact occur without any public input.”

And:

Mr. Snowden said he had never considered defecting while in Hong Kong, nor in Russia, where he has been permitted to stay for one year. He said he felt confident that he had kept the documents secure from Chinese spies, and that the N.S.A. knew he had done so. His last target while working as an agency contractor was China, he said, adding that he had had “access to every target, every active operation” mounted by the N.S.A. against the Chinese. “Full lists of them,” he said.

“If that was compromised,” he went on, “N.S.A. would have set the table on fire from slamming it so many times in denouncing the damage it had caused. Yet N.S.A. has not offered a single example of damage from the leaks. They haven’t said boo about it except ‘we think,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘have to assume’ from anonymous and former officials. Not ‘China is going dark.’ Not ‘the Chinese military has shut us out.’ ”

An N.S.A. spokeswoman did not respond Thursday to a request for comment on Mr. Snowden’s assertions.

Read the whole thing.

Written by Leisureguy

19 October 2013 at 9:54 am

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