LA Times Contradicts Guardian Story of Snowden’s “Four Laptops”

Yet another discrepancy
Media • Views: 28,393

Today the LA Times has a report on how NSA leaker Edward Snowden smuggled classified documents out of the Hawaii office in which he worked: with a USB thumb drive. This is interesting information because it flatly contradicts yet another detail in the Guardian’s reporting.

WASHINGTON — Former National Security Agency contract employee Edward Snowden used a computer thumb drive to smuggle highly classified documents out of an NSA facility in Hawaii, using a portable digital device supposedly barred inside the cyber spying agency, U.S. officials said.

Investigators “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” said one official who would not be named while speaking about the ongoing investigation.

Snowden worked as a system administrator, a technical job that gave him wide access to NSA computer networks and presumably a keen understanding of how those networks are monitored for unauthorized downloads.

The Guardian, on the other hand, claimed yesterday that Snowden somehow managed to smuggle four classified laptop computers out of the NSA facility and all the way to Hong Kong, and makes no mention whatsoever of a thumb drive: Edward Snowden: How the Spy Story of the Age Leaked Out | World News | the Guardian.

As he pulled a small black suitcase and carried a selection of laptop bags over his shoulders, no one would have paid much attention to Ed Snowden as he arrived at Hong Kong International Airport. But Snowden was not your average tourist or businessman. In all, he was carrying four computers that enabled him to gain access to some of the US government’s most highly-classified secrets.

It’s possible the government is not telling everything it knows about the case, obviously, but it’s much more believable that Snowden used a tiny USB thumb drive to sneak out with the top secret information — and the Guardian’s claim seems to fit into a pattern of wild exaggerations that has characterized their reporting from the start.

(Via Joshua Foust.)

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