The Daily Beast

Greenwald: Snowden's Files Are Out There if 'Anything Happens' to Him
by Eli Lake Jun 25, 2013 1:36 PM EDT

Snowden has shared encoded copies of all the documents he took so that they 
won't disappear if he does, Glenn Greenwald tells Eli Lake.

As the U.S. government presses Moscow to extradite former National Security 
Agency contractor Edward Snowden, America's most wanted leaker has a plan B. 
The former NSA systems administrator has already given encoded files containing 
an archive of the secrets he lifted from his old employer to several people. If 
anything happens to Snowden, the files will be unlocked.

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who Snowden first contacted in 
February, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Snowden "has taken extreme 
precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these 
archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published." Greenwald added 
that the people in possession of these files "cannot access them yet because 
they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords." But, Greenwald 
said, "if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged 
for them to get access to the full archives."

The fact that Snowden has made digital copies of the documents he accessed 
while working at the NSA poses a new challenge to the U.S. intelligence 
community that has scrambled in recent days to recover them and assess the full 
damage of the breach. Even if U.S. authorities catch up with Snowden and the 
four classified laptops the Guardian reported he brought with him to Hong Kong 
the secrets Snowden hopes to expose will still likely be published.

A former U.S. counterintelligence officer following the Snowden saga closely 
said his contacts inside the U.S. intelligence community "think Snowden has 
been planning this for years and has stashed files all over the Internet." This 
source added, "At this point there is very little anyone can do about this."

The arrangement to entrust encrypted archives of his files with others also 
sheds light on a cryptic statement Snowden made on June 17 during a live chat 
with The Guardian. In the online session he said, "All I can say right now is 
the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or 
murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped."

Last week NSA Director Keith Alexander told the House Permanent Select 
Committee on Intelligence that Snowden was able to access files inside the NSA 
by fabricating digital keys that gave him access to areas he was not allowed to 
visit as a low-level contractor and systems administrator. One of those areas 
included a site he visited during his training that Alexander later told 
reporters contained one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) 
Court orders published by The Guardian and The Washington Post earlier this 

[John here.  Let's try some speculation about what this phrase,
"fabricating digital keys", might mean.]

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