international intrigue

Snowden Denies New Leaks, Thinks the British Government Is Pretending to Be Him

Photo: Tanya Lokshina/HRW

This morning, U.K. paper the Independent published an “exclusive” in which it claimed, “Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies.” The article went on to say, “The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden.” But according to Snowden, the information didn’t come from him: “I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent,” Snowden said in a statement. He suspects something nefarious from the British government.

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,” Snowden told the Guardian. “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.” By others, he means me.

Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has handled most of Snowden’s NSA leaks, noted, “This is the first time the Independent has published any revelations purportedly from the NSA documents, and it’s the type of disclosure which journalists working directly with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have thus far avoided.” The Independent story comes after Greenwald’s boyfriend, David Miranda, was detained for carrying journalistic materials related to the NSA leaks; Greenwald said in the messy aftermath, “I think they will be sorry for what they did” and promised to be “far more aggressive in my reporting.”

Today, he wrote, “The U.S. government itself has constantly used this tactic: aggressively targeting those who disclose embarrassing or incriminating information about the government in the name of protecting the sanctity of classified information, while simultaneously leaking classified information prolifically when doing so advances their political interests.”

In the same Independent story that cited Snowden, the paper reported, “Scotland Yard said material examined so far from the computer of Mr. Miranda was ‘highly sensitive,’ the disclosure of which ‘could put lives at risk.” If you believe Snowden, that was never the idea, and with these new leaks, they’re just trying to make him look bad.

Snowden Blames British Government for New Leaks