On Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported that he showed them documents identifying the IP addresses of Chinese computers that had been hacked by NSA. Yesterday the Guardian revealed that he’d showed them NSA documents alleging that the agency accessed Medvedev’s communications at the G20 summit four years ago. Coincidentally, this year’s G8 summit opens today in Northern Ireland. The new scoop is obviously timed to maximize America’s embarrassment.
Are we done pretending that this guy is interested only, or even primarily, in exposing violations of Americans’ civil liberties? He’s not opposed to the U.S. government spying on its citizens. He’s opposed to the U.S. government spying, period, even if the information gleaned from foreign espionage ultimately benefits Americans. The patriot/traitor calculus is starting to shift.
The document, leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian, shows the agency believed it might have discovered “a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted”…
The report says: “This is an analysis of signal activity in support of President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to London. The report details a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted. The signal activity was found to be emanating from the Russian embassy in London and the communications are believed to be in support of the Russian president.”
The NSA interception of the Russian leadership at G20 came hours after Obama and Medvedev had met for the first time. Relations between the two leaders had been smoothed in the runup to the summit with a series of phone calls and letters, with both men wanting to establish a trusting relationship to discuss the ongoing banking crisis and nuclear disarmament.
Did the Russians know that we found out that they were transmitting signals in a different way? They do now. For good measure, the Guardian’s latest update this morning is that British spies also monitored foreign diplomats’ communications at the 2009 G20. So now the host country for this week’s G8 is embarrassed too, and of course it’ll be reluctant to share information on foreign intelligence with NSA for fear of further humiliating leaks. Maybe this explains why he leaked the PRISM stuff and the FISA order targeting Verizon first — he wanted to make a splash by exposing domestic surveillance so that he’d have more of a spotlight for the subsequent Wikileaks-ish revelations he was planning on U.S. foreign spying. If you believe Eric Bolling, even Snowden’s own father is urging him not to leak anymore.
Via Mediaite, here’s the White House enlisting two of its most trusted surrogates for pushback. Exit question: If Snowden managed to find info on NSA’s servers about what the Brits were doing at the G20, did he also manage to find information that would embarrass America’s enemies? If so, is he planning to leak that, or is this one of those very familiar scenarios (again, a la Wikileaks) where top priority is embarrassing western governments, not oppressive governments?