Apart from the drama surrounding the whereabouts of Edward Snowden, there have been fears that he would be the target of extreme acts to stop him revealing further information, either by kidnapping him and keeping him incommunicado or even worse, since the Obama administration has already said that they have the right to kill an American whom they think is an enemy of the state. And they clearly see Snowden as such, since they have charged him with espionage.
This is one reason that it was wise of Snowden to publicly reveal himself. If he hadn’t the government would have found him anyway and if he had disappeared while he was still an unknown, not one would have been the wiser. Now if anything happens to him, the Obama administration will be the immediate suspects.
But it looks like Snowden has taken even more precautions against being silenced.
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who Snowden first contacted in February, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Snowden “has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published.” Greenwald added that the people in possession of these files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” But, Greenwald said, “if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives.”
The fact that Snowden has made digital copies of the documents he accessed while working at the NSA poses a new challenge to the U.S. intelligence community that has scrambled in recent days to recover them and assess the full damage of the breach. Even if U.S. authorities catch up with Snowden and the four classified laptops the Guardian reported he brought with him to Hong Kong the secrets Snowden hopes to expose will still likely be published.
A former U.S. counterintelligence officer following the Snowden saga closely said his contacts inside the U.S. intelligence community “think Snowden has been planning this for years and has stashed files all over the Internet.” This source added, “At this point there is very little anyone can do about this.”
The arrangement to entrust encrypted archives of his files with others also sheds light on a cryptic statement Snowden made on June 17 during a live chat with The Guardian. In the online session he said, “All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
All the people who were sneering at Snowden for being a high school dropout can only wish that they were as strategic a thinker.