Did NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Have Help in Pulling Off Massive Leak of Classified Documents?

NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Comes Forward, Works as a Booz Allen Contractor at NSA
NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Comes Forward, Works as a Booz Allen Contractor at NSA

Who helped NSA leaker Edward Snowden steal classified information? Since National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program documents were leaked by Snowden to the Guardian, Washington Post and the South China Morning Post, I have maintained the position that he couldn’t have done this on his own, judging from the fact that he had only been working with the agency for less than three months.

Snowden told the SCMP that the reason he took the job at NSA via Booz Allen Hamilton was to get classified data from the agency. His exact words to the newspaper were:  “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked, that is why I accepted that position.” So, this brings us to the question of who facilitated this process? Read on.

Before taking the job in Hawaii, Mr. Snowden was in contact with people who would later help arrange the publication of the material he purloined. Two of these individuals, filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian blogger Glenn Greenwald, were on the Board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation that, among other things, funds WikiLeaks.

In January 2013, according to the Washington Post, Mr. Snowden requested that Ms. Poitras get an encryption key for Skype so that they could have a secure channel over which to communicate.

In February, he made a similar request to Mr. Greenwald, providing him with a step-by-step video on how to set up encrypted communications.


This orchestration did not occur in a vacuum. Airfares, hotel bills and other expenses over this period had to be paid. A safe house had to be secured in Hong Kong. Lawyers had to be retained, and safe passage to Moscow—a trip on which Mr. Snowden was accompanied by WikiLeaks’ Sarah Harrison—had to be organized. Source: Wall Street Journal

Glenn Greenwald can claim all he wants that he’s just a journalist doing his job. There’s more to this story. As the Wall Street Journal article states, this massive leak didn’t “happen in a vacuum.” Someone or more than one people had to know this was about to go down. So, David Gregory wasn’t wrong to ask Glenn Greenwald about criminal culpability in the NSA leak. Edward Snowden didn’t drop this bomb because he cared about the liberties of Americans. If he did, he wouldn’t have gladly spilled the beans to the pro-Beijing newspaper.