Image: Snowden's Files Distributed 'Around the World'

Snowden's Files Distributed 'Around the World'

Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 11:11 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Edward Snowden, the confessed leaker of the National Security Agency's surveillance program, has distributed copies of all files he has containing government secrets so they won't disappear in the event that he does.

Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian journalist who originally broke the NSA story, told The Daily Beast that the former NSA contractor encrypted the files and has arranged for them to be unlocked and disclosed "if anything happens" to him.

Greenwald said 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."

While the people in possession of the files cannot currently access them, 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."

Though the U.S. intelligence community has attempted in recent days to recover the files to determine the extent of the security breach, most agree there is little that can be done about their ultimate disclosure, especially as Snowden may have stashed files all over the Internet for a number of years, The Daily Beast reported.

Beyond what The Guardian and The Washington Post have published about the NSA's Prism surveillance program, it's unclear what else is in the Snowden archive. Greenwald has said Snowden gave him thousands of documents and he believes he has more.

At the same time, Greenwald emphasized that Snowden was selective about disclosures and had said specifically that he did not intend to hurt the U.S. government but "shine light on it," an approach Greenwald says he has honored in his selective publication of information.

"I do not want to help other states get better at surveillance," Greenwald said. "We won't publish things that might ruin ongoing operations from the U.S. government that very few people would object to the United States doing."

Meanwhile, according to The Daily Beast, Greenwald is taking his own precautions against being targeted by U.S. surveillance by encrypting emails and documents. Shortly after notifying his partner he would email sensitive information, his partner's laptop was stolen from their house while nothing else was taken.

"I would be shocked if the U.S. government were not trying to access the information on my computer. I carry my computers and data with me everywhere I go," Greenwald said.

Russion President Vladimir Putin said Snowden is in currently believed to be in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, having flown there from Hong Kong on Monday. He had been expected to move on to Cuba and then to Venezuela and Ecuador, but failed to make the flight.

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