Since its inception, the journalist media outlet The Intercept, founded in part by Glenn Greenwald, has focused primarily on the substantive ramifications found in classified documents stolen and leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Now, after a year on the run, it only seems fitting that Edward Snowden has become a contributing journalist to The Intercept organization. His first article was published this Sunday with rather dramatic effect.
In his article, Snowden accuses New Zealand’s prime minister of lying to his constituents about digital mass-surveillance on the population of the island nation. Speaking from his own personal experiences, Snowden wrote in his article:
Like many nations around the world, New Zealand over the last year has engaged in a serious and intense debate about government surveillance. The nation’s prime minister, John Key of the National Party, has denied that New Zealand’s spy agency GCSB engages in mass surveillance, mostly as a means of convincing the country to enact a new law vesting the agency with greater powers. This week, as a national election approaches, Key repeated those denials in anticipation of a report in The Intercept today exposing the Key government’s actions in implementing a system to record citizens’ metadata.
Let me be clear: any statement that mass surveillance is not performed in New Zealand, or that the internet communications are not comprehensively intercepted and monitored, or that this is not intentionally and actively abetted by the GCSB, is categorically false. If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched. At the NSA I routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders in my work with a mass surveillance tool we share with GCSB, called “XKEYSCORE.” It allows total, granular access to the database of communications collected in the course of mass surveillance. It is not limited to or even used largely for the purposes of cybersecurity, as has been claimed, but is instead used primarily for reading individuals’ private email, text messages, and internet traffic. I know this because it was my full-time job in Hawaii, where I worked every day in an NSA facility with a top secret clearance.
Snowden continues on to alert the New Zealand populace of the politics involved with mass-surveillance and how their government has been fully complicit in the types of behaviors he himself exposed about his own government last year. But what seems more important to note is that Edward Snowden is taking direct action to re-identify himself from the NSA contractor turned fugitive he is infamously known for.
So now that we’ve weathered the Snowden Effect in terms of video feeds and leaks to publications, it will be interesting to see what the journalist Edward Snowden will be able to bring to the table. There can’t be much outside of his own experiences (which virtually ended in June of last year) that he can elaborate on, considering his present Russian domiciliary confinement. Is this the beginning of the end of the #SnowdenEffect, or the establishment of a direct line for Snowden to reach the world?