Snowden denies being source of The Independent's "NSA leak" story exposing UK base

The UK's Independent newspaper published its first exclusive story on the NSA leaks, claiming that it is based upon "documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden." The story exposes the existence of a "secret" UK base in the Middle East.

But there's a problem: Edward Snowden says he's never talked the The Independent, and that this leak didn't come from him. Through The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, he suggests that the British government is now pro-actively leaking classified information it believes is in his stash.

I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger. People at all levels of society up to and including the President of the United States have recognized the contribution of these careful disclosures to a necessary public debate, and we are proud of this record.

"It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others. The UK government should explain the reasoning behind this decision to disclose information that, were it released by a private citizen, they would argue is a criminal act."

The Independent's Oliver Wright asserts that it "was not leaked or 'duped,'" but offers no sourcing information for the story beyond what it has already claimed.

Greenwald: "Leaving aside the fact that the Independent article quotes an anonymous "senior Whitehall source", nobody said they were "duped" into publishing anything. The question is: who provided them this document or the information in it? It clearly did not come from Snowden or any of the journalists with whom he has directly worked."

Notable Replies

  1. D.....did you read the TITLE?

    Also: LOL at the name of the newspaper that released government propaganda being "The Independent."

  2. jerwin says:

    Charlie Stross's prediction may have come true.

    Possibly the only thing protecting us from this contingency so far is that the first law of intelligence agencies is that information goes in, it never goes out. The idea of deliberately seeding the internet with disinformation is profoundly inimical to the usual methods and mission of an intelligence agency. (Organizations such as the KGB could do it only because the KGB wasn't a pure intelligence agency — it was a secret police force with intelligence gathering as part of its remit.)

    If we see the NSA or other US government agencies getting into the disinformation business, then the end game has arrived: there really is a Deep State developing, and it's adopting the tactics of a secret police agency — not merely enforcing laws, or gathering information, but trying to influence the beliefs of the citizenry by systematically lying to them. (China's already there, with its national firewall and prior censorship of news media.) But I don't think we're there just yet.

  3. I think the likely scenario is that some of the information police obtained from Miranda in his "terrorism" detention mentioned this UK base, and one of the law enforcement folks involved in that detention has leaked this, hence the "Snowden" connection.

  4. First, it wasn't Snowden's former employers who outed him, it was in fact Snowden himself, by considered choice, through The Guardian. Second, I have seen zero evidence that Snowden was ever an "anonymous" source. Snowden made contact with Greenwald, Gellman and Poitras, told them he had something, spoke in broad strokes about what that might be and then set about doing what was necessary to establish secure connections, prove his bona fides and gain some credibility with the journalists he was working with. Your entire premise is wrong.

    As far as who The Independent was trying to smear, again you're on the wrong premise. This wasn't aimed at Greenwald. This was aimed at Snowden. It was an attempt by someone to plant the idea that Snowden was now releasing specific operational and location information which would directly put lives in danger. It was all in all a terrible article, spending many words saying essentially...nothing. Smears are often that way.

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