Does Edward Snowden Have a "Doomsday" Cache of Super-Secret Documents? Let's Hope So.

Edward SnowdenAmerican and British
intelligence officials are reportedly in a tizzy about a supposedly
vast “doomsday” cache of extremely sensitive and potentially
damaging intelligence files Edward Snowden has hidden away as an
insurance policy. If you’re one of those people wondering why the
internationally famous whistleblower hasn’t been snatched or
snuffed for revealing the extent of National Security Agency-led
surveillance on the American people and the wider world, this is
likely the reason. If he goes down, the thinking goes, he’ll take
his tormenters with him. Very powerful, very amoral tormenters who
now lay awake at night wondering what he’ll do.

According to Mark Hosenball of

British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried
about a “doomsday” cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted
material they believe former National Security Agency contractor
Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.

The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other
agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence
personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other
sources briefed on the matter said.

The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and
multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources,
who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss
intelligence matters.

The passwords are in the possession of at least three different
people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they
said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are

This cache supposedly contains documents separate from the
extensive information Snowden supplied to journalists around the
world. That data detailed surveillance operations that he (and many
of us) found morally reprehensible. The “doomsday” data is believed
to contain names and persona details of intelligence officials.

Whether or not Snowden actually has secreted such
sensitive information, to be released if anybody moves against him,
it’s the sort of precaution that makes enormous sense for a man in
his position. It makes enough sense that officials probably have to
assume that he has created such a safeguard, even in the absence of
strong evidence. He obviously has sensitive documents and a serious
bone to pick with the intelligence community. Their security was
breached. Why wouldn’t he hold something in reserve?

It is, after all, almost certainly what the likes of James
Clapper and General Keith Alexander would do, to protect their own

There is a wonderful irony in an intelligence community
whistleblower using the threatened release of information to shield
himself from retribution by government spooks who make their living
by digging up everybody else’s secrets. Hoist by their own petards,
they have to gamble that he’ll release just enough sensitive data
to hurt them and force policy changes they oppose, or else risk the
complete unveiling of exactly the sort of compromising intel
they’ve dedicated themselves to unearthing about others.

Just for the record, the drinks are on me, Mr. Snowden, if we
ever meet.

from Hit & Run

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