Snowden sitting on 1.5 million more documents, NSA estimates

Will Conley - Dec 14, 2013, 4:07pm CST
Snowden sitting on 1.5 million more documents, NSA estimates

And now for your weekend Snowden update. Edward Snowden, as you may know if you haven’t been living in Plato’s cave, is the 30-year-old former NSA employee who stole and leaked “thousands” of documents revealing some of the incredible extent to which the NSA and other international spy agencies go to spy on Americans, Chinese, Germans, and the rest of the world. Last month the NSA said Snowden had leaked 200,000 documents to journalists. Now we’re hearing estimates from the NSA itself that Snowden is sitting on 1.5 million additional documents — but the agency admits even that figure is more-or-less a shot-in-the-dark.

The long-form journalism program 60 Minutes tweeted yesterday that Snowden stole a total of 1.7 million documents, according to the NSA. But the New York Times reported today that the agency doesn’t really know how many documents he stole and that they may never know. Whatever the case may be, the document tally is likely a staggering number.

At any rate, we’re poised to continue receiving this gift that keeps on giving for a long time to come. It seems Snowden’s strategy is to time-release his media leaks to keep the story alive. He also wishes to use the documents as leverage to be granted amnesty in the US, where the Department of Justice has indicted him for espionage and theft of government property.

Rick Ledgett, the NSA official in charge of the task force examining the Snowden leaks, opines that an amnesty deal is “worth having a conversation about” as long as there were assurances no documents remained at the close of the deal. But NSA Director General Keith disagrees, saying:

This is analogous to a hostage taker taking fifty hostages, shooting ten, and then saying, “If you give me full amnesty, I’ll let the other 40 go.”

The analogy may or may not be a bit on the disingenuous and sensationalist side, depending on what information you’re working with. We the public don’t know for certain whether any of the 200,000 document leaks led to anyone’s death, or what kind of information the remaining 1.5 million (or more) documents holds.

What we do know is that most of the documents released to journalists and publicly reported on pertain to NSA spying programs of both the open and secret varietals, and that the NSA’s single guiding mission is full, 360-degree, unobstructed vision of every last human being on the planet. That’s by the agency’s own admission as revealed in the Snowden documents.

What do you think? Should an amnesty deal be struck, or should Snowden be made an example of, to deter other potential leaks? Would you like to see the slow-leak plugged up? Or just let it Snow?

SOURCE: New York Times

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