Snowden voiced contempt for leakers in disclosed chat
When he was working in the intelligence community in 2009, Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who passed top-secret documents to journalists, appears to have had nothing but disdain for those who leaked classified information, the newspapers that printed their revelations and his current ally, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, according to newly disclosed chat logs.
Snowden, who used the online handle “TheTrueHOOHA,” was particularly upset by a January 2009 New York Times article that reported on a covert program to subvert Iran's nuclear infrastructure, according to the logs, which were published on Wednesday by Ars Technica, a technology news website.
“They're reporting classified (expletive)” Snowden wrote. “You don't put that (expletive) in the NEWSPAPER.”
At the time of the posting, in January 2009, Snowden was 25 years old and stationed in Geneva by the CIA.
“Are they TRYING to start a war?” he asked of The New York Times. “Jesus christ they're like wikileaks.”
Snowden's libertarian and dogmatic online persona adds to the emerging portrait of a shape-shifting young man whose motivations and decision-making remain in flux.
Meanwhile, Snowden's request for political asylum in Ecuador could take up to two months to approve, the country's foreign minister said, and he suggested that the fugitive could end his airport-layover limbo by seeking sanctuary inside the Ecuadorean Embassy.
Snowden has not been officially admitted to Russia and remains in the Sheremetyevo International Airport's “transit zone.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has encouraged him to hurry up and leave. Snowden might be able to make it to the South American nation's embassy — about a 20-minute ride at night when traffic thins out — under the diplomatic protection of the ambassador's car.
“If he goes to the embassy, we will make a decision,” said Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's foreign minister.
Patino, speaking during a visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, noted that such an arrangement would make Snowden's plight similar to that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. For more than a year, Assange has remained at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London after fleeing sexual assault allegations in Sweden and possible extradition to the United States in connection with leaks of classified information.
Wednesday's intrigue in Moscow, which sweltered in sticky heat and darkened as thunderstorms loomed, included increased speculation that Snowden had left the airport area and was with Russian intelligence officials at Lubyanka, the Federal Security Service headquarters.