Gov't Officials Leak Classified Info To Journalists To Discredit Snowden For Leaking Classified Info To Journalists

from the we're-from-the-government,-we-don't-do-irony dept

We already mentioned the bizarre NY Times article from over the weekend that described how Snowden apparently used some basic web crawler software to collect the documents he later leaked. As we noted, the basic story itself is unremarkable, other than for how the NY Times tried to turn “man uses basic tool” into a story. However, there is a really good quote from Snowden himself (via his lawyers) in response to the article. Since most of it involves senior government officials telling NYT reporters about security problems at some NSA facilities, Snowden was quick to point out the irony:

“It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”

Kinda puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

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Comments on “Gov't Officials Leak Classified Info To Journalists To Discredit Snowden For Leaking Classified Info To Journalists”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Be very suspicious every time NYT publishes an article that gives gives masked praise to the NSA or makes them look positive and Snowden & Co bad.

NYT has been doing it quite a lot lately, which is disappointing, before for a while I thought they finally “got it” and they would start being more like TheGuardian and WP and others in regards to these posts, but they still seem to mainly keep the side of the government. Shame. It’s almost like it’s not the same paper that protected Daniel Ellsberg several decades ago.

Dan Mitchell (profile) says:

OK, I’m seeing a lot of this criticism from the geek quadrant. Yes, yes, you’re all much savvier than the normals, and certainly than the journalists who aren’t TOTALLY ON BOARD, all the time, with everything you believe.

But the story was a fairly big deal — it showed just how incredibly mismanaged the NSA is, especially with its own security. That was the point of the story. How it makes Snowden look bad and the NSA look good has so far gone unexplained, because it simply isn’t true. But it’s easier to just say that the story does that than to actually, you know, demonstrate it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How is it a big deal?

Part of an admins job is to find and move files around, make backups, etc. Without the tools they describe, he can not do his job. Period. So he automated part of the process. Guess what? That too is part of his job. Sys admins often times write scripts to handle big maintenance tasks that would take way too long to handle in a manual manner and need to be run frequently. That’s not surprising. The only thing he did (which isn’t new) is take content home on thumb drives the release it to the journalists. That’s it. This is more a government official speaking to the NYT about stuff that isn’t surprising at all and using loaded terms that they then parrot in the article to make it sound sensationalistic. The quotes are meant actually meant to diffuse backlash for using those loaded terms by effectively saying “these are their words not ours.” It’s a fluff piece and that is why they are getting mocked by those who see it for what it is.

DanMitchell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As the story makes clear, and as we should already know anyway, these are highly classified documents we’re talking about here. Yes, admins use scraping tools all the time, but they shouldn’t be able to use them as employees of government contractors who have no clearance to access highly classified material. Also as the story made clear, most NSA offices had security in place to prevent such a thing from happening, but the office Snowden worked on didn’t

Yeesh. I mean, the NYT perhaps made a bit more of a big deal out of this than it deserved, but it’s still a story, and not a minor one. It contains details we didn’t know before, which is the definition of news. Yeesh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, all reports I’ve seen said that he HAD clearance to see the documents. And a sys admin without access can’t be a very good sys admin as access to the files is necessary for him to do his job. You have to trust you sys admin to a certain point with access otherwise your system falls apart without anyone to maintain it. Where they screwed up was that they were lax about it and had no one looking over his shoulder to make sure he didn’t walk out with anything. That’s the big problem. And it’s also not new.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If those documents had been encrypted, then the admins can do their job but not gain access to the contents. So once again a government department is trying to deflect the blame for their own bad practices. The question that should be addressed is not how did Ed Snowden get hold of the document, but rather why were they not encrypted with keys that he did not have.

all_irony_aside says:

actually there's a triple-standard, by design

*yes* IT Security means different strokes for different folks!

1, you might be a nobody — you don’t get to see or do sh*t

2, you might be a current employ — you can ask for & get granted privileges to do a whole sh*t ton of cool Top Secret sh*t

3, you might be an ex-contractor suspected of espionage — you get all the privileges of a nobody, plus get to defend your pants-to-ankled government & armed spy agencies & their adversarial lawyers +1 elected prejudicial judge-jury-executioner drone assassin Command In Chief

Double-standards and hypocrisy are irrelevant here. We aren’t having a moral debate, or battle of ideas.

This is your country. And this is your country on terrorism.

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