Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Second Snowden?

Maybe you read today’s edition of Fucked Up Things the NSA Does and silently thanked Edward Snowden for revealing all of this stuff. Funny story: it might not be Snowden who revealed this set of documents. Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing:

Another expert said that s/he believed that this leak may come from a second source, not Edward Snowden, as s/he had not seen this in the original Snowden docs; and had seen other revelations that also appeared independent of the Snowden materials. If that’s true, it’s big news, as Snowden was the first person to ever leak docs from the NSA. The existence of a potential second source means that Snowden may have inspired some of his former colleagues to take a long, hard look at the agency’s cavalier attitude to the law and decency.

This sentiment was echoed by Bruce Schneier:

And, since Cory said it, I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents. I also don’t believe the TAO catalog came from the Snowden documents. I think there’s a second leaker out there.

Curious. Intriguing.

Digression: I know Schneier is a security professional, and that security professionals must be cynical — it’s kind of their job description. But this kind of stuff really gets to me:

I don’t expect this to get much coverage in the US mainstream media.

At best, the “mainstream media”1 just isn’t that interested in covering surveillance of pieces of software that fit into a pretty tight niche. At worst, Schneier is accusing broadcasters of being in league with the NSA to actively suppress this story.

Just for some rationality, this story was covered by Forbes, Wired, and the New York Fucking Times, not to mention the Associated Press, which meant it appeared in a wide variety of publications, large and small.

The advantage of Schneier’s vague cynical sentiment is that it leaves a very wide margin. The links above point to mainstream coverage, but it won’t be sufficient. It never is when the goalposts are so mobile.


  1. And just what is “mainstream” today? What is not? If you listen to the broadcasted persecution complex that is Fox, they claim to be outside of the mainstream media, yet they consistently brag about their high ratings. This phrase is meaningless. ↩︎