Snowden: NSA Snoops Shared Sexy Photos
Inside agency, 'anything goes,' he says
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2014 3:47 AM CDT
National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia.    (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Military personnel working on National Security Agency surveillance programs saw stumbling across explicit photos as one of the "fringe benefits of surveillance positions," Edward Snowden reveals in a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian. They may find, "for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they’re extremely attractive," he says. "So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: 'Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.' And sooner or later, this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people. Anything goes, more or less." An NSA spokeswoman asked to comment tells the New York Times that the agency has zero tolerance for such violations of professional standards. More from the interview:

  • On life at the NSA: "Many people don’t understand that I was actually an analyst and I designated individuals and groups for targeting," Snowden says. "Generally, it’s not the people at the working level you need to worry about. It's the senior officials" who are "shielded from oversight," but you also "have a tremendous population of young military enlisted individuals who, while that’s not a discredit to them ... may not have had the number of life experiences to have felt the sense of being violated."

  • On NSA auditing: "A 29-year-old walked in and out of the NSA with all of their private records. What does that say about [the NSA's] auditing? They didn’t even know."
  • On technology: Asked if he used Dropbox, Snowden says, "They just put Condoleezza Rice on their board, who is probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine. ... So they're very hostile to privacy."
  • On life in Moscow: "I get recognized," he says. "It’s a little awkward at times because my Russian's not as good as it should be. I’m still learning. But yeah, every now and then somebody does." He says he wants to return to the US, but he's much "happier here in Russia than I would be facing an unfair trial in which I can't even present a public interest defense to a jury of my peers." Russia is "a modern country and it’s been good to me, so yeah, I have a pretty normal life and I would absolutely like to continue to be able to travel as I have in the past."
  • On his links with Russia: "The State Department stranded me in Russia as I was transiting through on my way to Latin America," Snowden says, adding that he has been "totally open about the fact that I disapprove of the majority of the recent laws in Russia on Internet censorship and surveillance." If the US government "had the tiniest indication, the tiniest shred of evidence that, not even that I was working for the Russian government, that I was associating with the Russian government, it would be on the front page of the New York Times by lunchtime," he adds.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Snowden: NSA Snoops Shared Sexy Photos is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 24 comments
Jul 21, 2014 2:24 PM CDT
What a guy! If I could have another child, I would name them SNOWDEN.
Jul 21, 2014 1:51 PM CDT
The same goes on in hospitals. I'm a nurse, and I can tell you that if you are attractive or well endowed, you will have a steady stream of onlookers check you out in the operating room. Secretaries, nurses, techs.....whoever. I first witnessed it when I was a student nurse, assigned to a patient in the O.R. People in dress clothes, barely holding masks to their faces were parading past. I was green and didn't know what was going on, especially since I'd never been in an O.R. before. Later, I asked my mentor and she giggled that they were all checking out my patient's penis while he was under anesthetic. I told my teacher, but don't know that anything was done. Then later, during my career, I've heard staff talking about viewing patients while they are asleep and awaiting surgery, so I know it still goes on. If you don't want it to happen to you, you need to tell your doctor and your nurse RIGHT BEFORE YOU GO INTO THE O.R. That way, they will know you are aware of the situation and they will be more afraid to let it happen.
Americans Right to Privacy
Jul 21, 2014 1:43 PM CDT
•Computers collecting and analyzing Internet traffic is just as much "surveillance" as a person peeping through a window •Note that human rights law doesn’t allow mass, untargeted spying on ordinary, innocent people; If governments and "free" email providers can peek through your webcam, read your emails and look inside your computer, so can the criminals. Solutions exist. There is online security, and then there is Swiss based online security.