“He’s sure as hell no traitor”

Fortune has an interview with a former colleague of Edward Snowden’s in Hawaii (some have questioned its provenance, but details in the interview accord with other stories about Snowden at NSA; even Keith Alexander said he was very good at his job).

One of my favorite details describes how Snowden repeatedly alerted NSA to security problems in their code, but they didn’t always fix it.

He also frequently reported security vulnerabilities in NSA software. Many of the bugs were never patched.

This is consistent with a story describing him trying to fix a CIA security problem when he was in Europe, so it rings true. But it also reveals the NSA’s own lax concern for security.

But I’m most interested in this paragraph:

Snowden’s former colleague says that he or she has slowly come to understand Snowden’s decision to leak the NSA’s files. “I was shocked and betrayed when I first learned the news, but as more time passes I’m inclined to believe he really is trying to do the right thing and it’s not out of character for him. I don’t agree with his methods, but I understand why he did it,” he or she says. “I won’t call him a hero, but he’s sure as hell no traitor.”

I have been tracking the apparent concern on the part of top NSA officials that employees will learn something that disturbs them. This is — if authentic — one of the first descriptions we have of an NSA employee reacting to Snowden’s leaks (albeit from one who seemed to admire him).

But it describes this employee beginning to understand Snowden’s underlying point, though not his methods (and perhaps not his ultimate judgement it was unconstitutional).

This is the battle Keith Alexander seems most afraid of, the battle over the belief of NSA insiders.

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6 Responses to “He’s sure as hell no traitor”

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz My question at the outset was why GM concealment was not bankruptcy fraud; now that will be litigated. Good. http://t.co/CCL3wm2HYE
bmaz @trevortimm Be terrified. Very terrified. Cause what you saw is, I think, all you get.
bmaz @johnson_carrie According to my wife, "impossible jerk" characterizes lawyers in many locales @npratc
bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT The constitutional framing is amazingly resilient, but resets are slow.
bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT I represent far too many of the former and lament the latter. Things change though
bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT Frankly, US can exert such influence, will not be effective foreign prosec either
bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT Yes, in these considerations, that is exactly right. Not happening.
bmaz @HoltenMark @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT I wasn't being a smart ass, just honest as to situation.
bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Safe enough bet; no administration will want to open that can of worms.
bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark ...ought to give pause in above regards too. If DOJ ever cared about these crimes.
bmaz @mucha_carlos @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Well, yes, and the wild expansion of extraterritorial jurisdiction in other cases
bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @KenDilanianLAT @HoltenMark Granted, what Im saying applies to execution of US nationals as opposed to foreign nationals.
December 2013
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