A Former Obama Cabinet Official Made The Strongest Snowden Allegation Yet - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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A Former Obama Cabinet Official Made The Strongest Snowden Allegation Yet

Edward Jay Epstein of The Wall Street Journal has published an article in which he lays out the argument of Edward Snowden’s most ardent critics.

The strongest allegation against Snowden is that he is a witting or unwitting agent of a foreign intelligence operation against the U.S. (rather than a whistleblower).

A former member of President Obama’s cabinet told Epstein in March “that there are only three possible explanations for the Snowden heist: 1) It was a Russian espionage operation; 2) It was a Chinese espionage operation, or 3) It was a joint Sino-Russian operation.”

Top U.S. officials have previously asserted that Snowden accessed or “touched” up to 1.7 million documents, and that the vast majority that he took were related to American military capabilities.

Snowden denies that he intended to take military information. The 30-year-old also contends that he gave up all of the classified information to the journalists he met in Hong Kong, but there are numerous indications that is not the case.

On June 12, two days after parting ways with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he wanted to go through the information he had and leak more later.

 The NSA believes Snowden gave 200,000 documents to Greenwald and Poitras. The whereabouts of other documents, including some of America’s most closely held secrets, is unclear.

Epstein, citing current and former government officials with intelligence clearances, reports that Snowden stole documents  from “at least 24 supersecret compartments that stored them on computers, each of which required a password that a perpetrator had to steal or borrow, or forge an encryption key to bypass.”

The NSA believes Snowden started downloading documents in mid-2012 while working at Dell in Hawaii. An NSA civilian employee resigned in January after inadvertently letting Snowden use his password to access information he was not authorized to see. 

Snowden reportedly installed a web crawler to scrape specific documents when he began his job at Booz Allen in mid-April 2013. The two documents with the biggest domestic implications — the Verizon order compelling U.S. phone records and the PRISM slides — are from April 2013. However, U.S. officials say that most of the documents have nothing to do with civil liberties or whistleblowing.

Beyond the stolen cache, Snowden’s knowledge of the NSA’s computer systems and vetting structure make him a very valuable asset for a U.S. adversary.

By MICHAEL KELLEY (Business Insider)

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