In a new interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Ed Snowden seems to be hitting back at nearly every bogus claim made by his critics
. He kicks it off by responding to the claims that if he were a real whistleblower, he should have just gone through "official channels." He claims that he did that and nothing happened. In fact, he suggests that Congress ought to ask the NSA about that.
The N.S.A. at this point not only knows I raised complaints, but that there is evidence that I made my concerns known to the N.S.A.'s lawyers, because I did some of it through e-mail. I directly challenge the N.S.A. to deny that I contacted N.S.A. oversight and compliance bodies directly via e-mail and that I specifically expressed concerns about their suspect interpretation of the law, and I welcome members of Congress to request a written answer to this question [from the N.S.A.].
How about the silly claim that he took 1.7 million documents? As we've mentioned
this number keeps going up. First it was 50,000 documents. Then 70,000. Then 1.5 million. And the latest is 1.7 million. And all of it seems based on a faulty assumption
that every document Snowden has ever "touched" he took with him. That is almost certainly false. And, as we've also noted in the past, Snowden has made it clear that he no longer has
any of the documents. He reiterated that to Vanity Fair:
Snowden cautions about some of the numbers that investigators have publicized, especially the 1.7 million figure, which, he tells Vanity Fair, is “simply a scare number based on an intentionally crude metric: everything that I ever digitally interacted with in my career.” He adds, “Look at the language officials use in sworn testimony about these records: ‘could have,’ ‘may have,’ ‘potentially.’ They’re prevaricating. Every single one of those officials knows I don’t have 1.7 million files, but what are they going to say? What senior official is going to go in front of Congress and say, ‘We have no idea what he has, because the N.S.A.’s auditing of systems holding hundreds of millions of Americans’ data is so negligent that any high-school dropout can walk out the door with it?’ ”
“I know exactly how many documents I have,” Snowden continues. “Zero.”
There's more in the publicly released summary, and apparently the full story (not yet released) will have even more. Of course, it won't stop the NSA's defenders from making the same old claims again and again without proof.