Ed Snowden Confirms He Took None Of The Documents To Russia

from the as-expected dept

As we noted last month, from earlier comments Ed Snowden had made about it being impossible for him to reveal the documents he leaked to the Russians or Chinese, it seemed quite likely that he got rid of the documents and had no copies any more himself. This seemed even more likely after the report from earlier this week that the four laptops he took were more of a diversion than anything else. And now, Snowden has confirmed directly that he handed the documents off to Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald and did not keep copies for himself, as he’s now explained to the NY Times’ James Risen.

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.

While he obviously did take them to Hong Kong, that was before anyone was paying attention to him, and he notes that he was well aware of how to hide the documents from the Chinese, having actually taught a class at the NSA on Chinese cybercounterintelligence.

“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,” he said.

He further noted that the NSA is well aware that neither the Russians nor Chinese got access to the documents, meaning that when US officials are suggesting that he gave the docs to both (or that they got them from him) they’re either ignorant or lying. He also explained that, contrary to the claims from some that he “defected” to Russia, his intent had never been to “defect” to either Russia or China, but (as people have noted) due to the US’s own actions, he’s effectively been stranded in Russia for the time being.

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Comments on “Ed Snowden Confirms He Took None Of The Documents To Russia”

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Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Glad we got that nailed down. Now, remember NSA crimes?

Except that the Guardian has been muzzled from actually doing anything but relying reporting from elsewhere. If Greenwald wants to be actively reporting on the leaks rather than just what you’d term the distractions he is best doing it from elsewhere. From what he is said it’s likely he is using his current capital from the story to set up a new venture.

What’s really interesting here how ever is how you call talking about Snowden a distraction which only helps the NSA but then bring up Greenwald making a perfectively understandable career move as if that would be something else. QED OTBB wants to distract us from the NSA, you therefore, by the logic you display in this an other posts, an NSA apologist!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Didn't anyone else see "The English Gentleman"?

What would be the unique value of personally carrying another copy of the materials onward?

Well, for starters, if Mr. Snowden had the capability to sell the materials to Russia or China, then other nations might be more inclined offer him sanctuary, just to give him no impetus to do so.

As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
Encrypted with Morbius-Cochrane Perfect Steganographic Codec 1.2.001
Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:47:40 PM
draw fuse chimp snore bait button travel bible

Brazenly anonymous says:

Re: Didn't anyone else see "The English Gentleman"?

if Mr. Snowden had the capability to sell the materials to Russia or China, then other nations might be more inclined offer him sanctuary

If Mr. Snowden had the documents, Russia would not be willing to allow him to leave. He’d be Russia’s special guest for the rest of his admittedly luxurious life. That’s the deal a real defector would get.

Rekrul says:

And now, Snowden has confirmed directly that he handed the documents off to Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald and did not keep copies for himself, as he’s now explained to the NY Times’ James Risen.

Snowden has just painted a large target on both Poitras and Greenwald. If they’re the only ones with copies, what’s to stop the US government from arranging covert search missions to recover whatever material they have?

Anonymous Coward says:

im sure the Russians and the Chinese have the same internet access as anyone else, therefore if Snowden released and allowed them to be leaked, he HAS given them to the Chinese and Russians.


He made it completely possible for the Chinese, Russians, Terrorists and ANYONE ELSE who fins value in the Documents.

How does this make this idiot somehow better !!!!!

“I didn’t give them to the Russians, I just made them public and GAVE THE TO THE PLANET”..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Good

“He made it completely possible for the Chinese, Russians, Terrorists and ANYONE ELSE who fins value in the Documents.”

And? US handed that data to Israel, do you think Israel has your best interests are heart? Or Israels interests at heart?

These secrets are so important, that they can be traded with other nations (UK, Aus, Canada, Israel) for more power for the NSA, but yet so super secret that if told the USA will be invaded or attacked?


It’s far more important that we preserve democracy in the west. Something not possible with the NSA creeps vetting political candidates and protest groups and political activists and lobbyists.

How many foreign votes have you undermined? How many times has Cameron voted the way the US wanted rather than the voters wanted? How many times have you undermined our democracy to start wars or attack targets?

You worry that Russia could take us over because you spooks spied on our Skype traffic?

I worry that an out of control military is making their own laws in secret and defining their own citizens as extremists for political speech. In case you don’t remember, US gave itself the right to kill its own citizens without trial, and it’s USING that right. It is labelling it’s own people as ‘vile propagandists’ and killing its own people.

Dictatorships always end up killing more of their own than other countries. It’s the nature of holding power by force.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Good

keep you opinions to yourself buddy, you don’t speak for me, show me where I said I don’t care about the US, OR IS THAT JUST A LIE ???

I do care about the US, but no more or less than anywhere else! At least I don’t advocate hate towards your Government as you do, or have a complete disregard for your rules and laws. It does appear I have more respect for your laws than most people here on TD, we’ll at least within the Masnick cultists/followers.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Snowden was able to walk out with the documents and we only know that because he told us. What this tells us is that these kind of leaks could have happened before and over enough time almost certainly would have. By making the leaks, and the way they where leaked, public Snowden has insured that that can not happen. Because the breach is in the public eye they can’t cover it up or ignore it. In short Snowdens actions have lead to us being more secure than we where.

But what about the documents that got out you cry! Well there again we are safer than these documents that very well could have been leaked before Snowden are now public knowledge and every one knows that every one knows at the very least what has been reported. The upshot is that our governments now have to act with the knowledge these programs have been exposed which is vastly preferable to them carrying on like they are secret with a huge gaping hole in the security that protect them.

Now it’s worth noting here that I’ve not yet even touched on the idea that the leaks where in the publics interests or even if the programs make us safer. What ever side of the argument you are on the above logic remains the same, the leaks could have already happened or happened in the future and in the event of those leaks it’s vastly better for the government and our safety that they’ve been done publicly via filtered and considered reporting. All but one other outcomes of this hole in NSA security are less preferable to this one and the other one is “it just happens to never be exploited” and if you’re are trusting your security to a group who banks on that you are in deep trouble already.

So yes, giving them to the planet, filtered by people who have an interest in not actually causing us harm is the best thing he could do. In fact I’d even go so far as to argue it is the single best course of action that could have been followed given the circumstance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

so do you recall any leaks to the PUBLIC from the NSA by anyone else recently ???

You argument “that they might of already got out” is THE MOST STUPID one I have ever heard, watch out Masnick might write a full post about it, as the champion of lost causes and legal/political misreading.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s no reason to expect public leaks before now and given my point is not even reliant on there even having been leaks before now I fail to see why you think that’s an counter argument.

The logic above remains valid, the leaks could have happened before Snowden and they now can’t happen after. If anything was leaked before Snowden it’s now less valuable and damaging that it was before. Less harm can be cause now than it could be before. The simple fact Snowden could do what he did means what he did made us safer.

I can say that you are a cat but unless I want to provide a meaningful reason such as “we have no documented cases of cats being able to understand language or use a keyboard” it is pointless. If you are going to suggest that something is the most stupid thing you’ve ever heard you undermine your point vastly by not logically explaining why that is the case. After all that should be easy so it makes me wonder why you didn’t bother…

Well no… I know why you didn’t bother… you’re a troll but that’s no fun now is it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Why is this being censored such that it can only be seen by clicking an additional link (which is quite difficult to see given the lack of contrast against the background)? Are comments like this so vile that they trouble the sensibilities of the TD community at large? I would like to think that persons here have thicker skin. After all, discussions concerning comments on other internet sites constantly berate anyone who dares question the propriety of their continued presence…the argument being “that is blatant censorship and must be stopped at all costs”.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: public interest

Under the circumstances, who would you have given the power of having those documents, and the responsibility to inform the people of the United States how the US Government via the NSA is taking a big dump on their rights?

Snowden chose the best recourse and I challenge anyone to think of a better way he could have done it.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: Re:2 public interest

“As for the “same manner” you were allegedly treated, have a list of posts you made with no time delay.”

Made in the last 2 days, after the block was removed after about 6 months of it being on.

I see all the flaming and hatred in this post, I am shocked that the admins aren’t address the issue of the real people causing the issue. I got a time out because people like you cannot control yourselves. That truly sucks.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: Re:4 public interest

The comments appear now, but they did not appear as they were posted. Rather, they went into “moderation” when I clicked submit (never shown to anyone) until a few days later they would be “released”, long after the discussion was done.

The idea was to make my comments irrelevant by blocking them long enough for the story to sink a few pages deep. You can tell because if anyone replies to my comments made during that period, the reply was days later, not the usual short time later that happens here.

I know you are trying to bait me, but I am not biting. You are just showing your true intentions and I hope that Mike and his staff treat you like a flaming troll and block your posts for a while too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the source of the documents is SNOWDEN, anyone with a copy of them got them either directly off or indirectly off Snowden.

But Snowden says:

?There?s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents,? he said.

I would say, considering the wide available of the documents (sourced by Snowden) that there would be a higher than ZERO chance either Russia or China has received ANY documents.

Snowden is not saying he did not give them any, he is saying THEY DID NOT RECIEVE ANY..

Again I ask:

Is Snowden an idiot !!!!

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