In 2009, Snowden Said Leakers “Should Be Shot” - but He Told Greenwald He Planned to Leak in 2008

Another discrepancy
US News • Views: 27,771

In 2009 chat logs from Ars Technica, Edward Snowden sounded a lot like Dick Cheney on the issue of leakers and national security: Four Years Ago, Ed Snowden Thought Leakers Should Be ‘Shot’.

“Those people should be shot in the balls,” Snowden apparently said of leakers in a January 2009 chat. Snowden had logged into an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server associated with Ars Technica. While Ars itself didn’t log the conversations, multiple participants in the discussions kept logs of the chats and provided them to the technology site.

At this point, Snowden’s evolution into a fierce critic of the national security establishment was in its early stages. Snowden was incensed at the New York Times, which had described secret negotiations between the United States and Israel over how best to deal with Iran’s suspected nuclear program.

“Are they TRYING to start a war? Jesus christ. They’re like wikileaks.” Snowden wrote. “You don’t put that s— in the NEWSPAPER.”

“They have a HISTORY of this s—,” he continued, making liberal use of capital letters and profanity. “These are the same people who blew the whole ‘we could listen to osama’s cell phone’ thing. The same people who screwed us on wiretapping. Over and over and over again.”

He said he enjoyed “ethical reporting.” But “VIOLATING NATIONAL SECURITY? no. That s— is classified for a reason. It’s not because ‘oh we hope our citizens don’t find out.’ It’s because ‘this s— won’t work if iran knows what we’re doing.’”

“I am so angry right now. This is completely unbelievable.”

I’d be perfectly willing to give Snowden a pass on changing his beliefs. (After all, I did.) However — LGF contributor simoom pointed out this morning that the views expressed in these chat logs differ significantly from what Snowden said in his first interview with Glenn Greenwald:

Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?

A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.

“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”

So — in his statements to Greenwald, Snowden claimed he was already planning to leak classified information in 2008. But in the chat logs from 2009, he said leakers “should be shot in the balls.”

A slight discrepancy, to say the least.

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Last updated: 2015-09-11 10:11 am PDT

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