As Expected, Snowden's Four Laptops Were A Diversion; Didn't Contain Leaked Files
from the moving-on dept
One of the oddities of the whole Ed Snowden affair has been all the talk of how some people are absolutely positive that officials in both China and Russia have copies of all the documents he had. One thing that’s often brought up is the fact that he traveled with four laptops — with the assumption being that the documents are somehow stored on those laptops, and it’s likely that government officials in those two countries were able to get access to those laptops and thus get the documents. Except, as some pointed out early on, that doesn’t make much sense. Why would you need four laptops to carry a bunch of documents? Documents can be quite small and you don’t need extra laptops if you run out of room. Furthermore, as reporter Barton Gellman has explained, Snowden’s expertise is in keeping stuff like that secret, and it seemed quite unlikely that he had the documents on those laptops — which is also why he was able to state that there was no actual way for officials in those countries to get the data from him.
There’s now more support for this claim, as Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, who was among a small group of high profile whistleblowers from the US intelligence community who traveled to Russia to meet with Snowden last week, has explained that the laptops were nothing more than “a diversion.”
The four laptop computers that former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden carried with him to Hong Kong and Moscow were a “diversion” and contained no secrets, according to an ex-CIA official who met with Snowden in Russia this week.
The classified documents that Snowden had downloaded from the U.S. National Security Agency were stored on smaller devices, such as hard drives and thumb drives, and they have not been turned over to the Russian or Chinese authorities, said Ray McGovern, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst.
Of course, some will point out that the Russians and the Chinese could also get those hard drives and thumb drives, but from everything that’s been stated, it seems fairly clear that Snowden doesn’t have them any more himself, either. Either way, it would appear that a lot of people jumped to conclusions that have yet to be supported by any actual evidence.