Snowden claims he left digital clues for NSA to find leaked files

13 Aug 2014

Edward Snowden, former CIA contractor

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has claimed that prior to his leaks about US government spying activities, he left obvious clues regarding which files he was planning to release to the world.

In an interview with Wired, the man currently in exile in Russia, at least for another five years or so, has denied previous claims that he had been extra careful in making sure the files were smuggled out.

In fact, he has said he did the complete opposite by leaving a considerable number of clues for the US National Security Agency (NSA), by making it clear which files had been copied and yet were seemingly missed by authorities.

His reasoning for this was supposedly to make the NSA and US government aware that he copied these files not to pass them on to foreign agencies as a spy, but just a whistleblower working in the common people’s interest.

NSA ‘completely incapable’

With the estimated number of documents Snowden had extracted from the NSA being somewhere in the region of 1.7m, questions are being raised as to the level of security within the agency, although that has surely been ramped up since Snowden first made headlines more than a year ago.

Given the scale of what files were leaked, Snowden has described the agency as being “completely incapable” of fixing its mistakes.

“I figured they would have a hard time, I didn’t figure they would be completely incapable.”

However, Snowden’s lawyer Jesselyn Radack has dismissed the figure of 1.7m files as an attempt to discredit Snowden’s perception of what files were important to the general public.

“Even if they did get them, I think this (1.7m) number is manufactured out of whole cloth to give the impression of a wholesale data dump. In fact, Ed very carefully selected exactly what he wanted to turn over and why.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic