While Snowden can legitimately claim to be a whistleblower based on the tier 1 and 2 material he gave to Poitras, Greenwald, and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, the larger cache of information about America’s cyberintelligence capabilities and activities around the world is another story.
Snowden’s audacious theft of tier 3 documents, which included acquiring colleagues’ passwords that gave him access to secret files, could potentially put him in another category altogether. Taking that information would in theory make him a renegade spy — and possessing it would make him an especially welcome guest of the Kremlin.
“These secrets he took from [from Booz Allen] are of value to no one but Russia, China, and maybe North Korea, because these secrets are basically the lists of computers in Russia, China, and North Korea which [the U.S.] managed to compromise and tap into,” Epstein asserted to Powerline. “And not only that, … it would take a very sophisticated counterintelligence service to reverse engineer and to figure out where all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Snowden visited Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in early August, his first public appearance since arriving in Russia last year.
“So the strange thing about what he did at the National Threat [Operations] Center is what he took is … only of use to two countries. Have they made use of them? I don’t know. But they are of no use to journalists. If he supplied these to journalists, they would have nothing to publish [besides lists of compromised computers].”