Who aided and abetted Snowden's theft of US communication secrets
In March 2013, when Edward Snowden sought a job with Booz Allen Hamilton at a National Security Agency facility in Hawaii, he signed the requisite classified-information agreements and would have been made well aware of the law regarding communications intelligence.When I was going through training to become a Marine communications officer it was hammered into us the importance of protecting the secret information we came in contact with. Before I became XO of a rifle company I spent time in the Third Marine Division communication center where I read at least half the message traffic and a daily basis and saw that it got the the right people. I could never imagine doing what Snowden did. I think Poitras and Harrison should get lawyers if they don't already have one on retainer. After the Fox News James Rubin fiasco, I doubt the Justice Department will go after Greenwald, but the others in the plot are probably fair game.
Section 798 of the United States Code makes it a federal crime if a person "knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States" any classified information concerning communication intelligence.
Mr. Snowden took that position so he could arrange to have published classified communications intelligence, as he told the South China Morning Post earlier this month. The point of Mr. Snowden's penetration was to get classified data from the NSA. He subsequently stated: "My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked, that is why I accepted that position."
My question would be, then: Was he alone in this enterprise to misappropriate communications intelligence?
Before taking the job in Hawaii, Mr. Snowden was in contact with people who would later help arrange the publication of the material he purloined. Two of these individuals, filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian blogger Glenn Greenwald, were on the Board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation that, among other things, funds WikiLeaks.
In January 2013, according to the Washington Post, Mr. Snowden requested that Ms. Poitras get an encryption key for Skype so that they could have a secure channel over which to communicate.
In February, he made a similar request to Mr. Greenwald, providing him with a step-by-step video on how to set up encrypted communications.
So, before Mr. Snowden proceeded with his NSA penetration in March 2013 through his Booz Allen Hamilton job, he had assistance, either wittingly or unwittingly, in arranging the secure channel of encrypted communications that he would use to facilitate the publication of classified communications intelligence.
On May 20, three months into his job, Mr. Snowden falsely claimed to his employer that he needed treatment for epilepsy. The purpose of the cover story was to conceal his trip to Hong Kong, where the operation to steal U.S. secrets would be brought to fruition.
Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras also flew to Hong Kong. They were later joined by Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks representative who works closely with Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. Mr. Snowden reportedly brought the misappropriated data to Hong Kong on four laptops and a thumb drive. He gave some of the communications intelligence to Mr. Greenwald, who had arranged to publish it in the Guardian, and Mr. Snowden arranged to have Ms. Poitras make a video of him issuing a statement that would be released on the Guardian's website. Albert Ho, a Hong Kong lawyer, was retained to deal with Hong Kong authorities.