Snowden: Any Unencrypted Message Goes To Every Intelligence Service

Snowden: Any Unencrypted Message Goes To Every Intelligence Service

The New York Times Magazine has a quick Q&A with Edward Snowden, conducted through intermediary Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who’s been filming Snowden since earlier this year. It’s mostly straightforward, except for one potentially significant reveal.

The nuts and bolts of the interview are pretty standard, though still interesting given the subject: Snowden went to Poitras and her partner Glenn Greenwald because they were among the few journalists whose work he respected and felt continued to hold those in power accountable; he knew he could trust Poitras when he realised she trusted him less than he trusted her; Poitras and Greenwald were probably bummed out when they showed up and saw how young he is.

But the most striking quote comes while Snowden is discussing secure communications with the journalists:

I was surprised to realise that there were people in news organisations who didn’t recognise any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world. In the wake of this year’s disclosures, it should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless.

It’s not 100 per cent clear, given the context, if he’s talking about all unencrypted messages period, or simply those from journalists at news organisations — and frankly, it’s hard to decide which would be more damning if true. And while Snowden clearly has a vested interest in painting in as dark and ominous tones as possible, if there’s any point in his story where he’d be at maximum alertness and most careful, it would be making initial contact with the journalists. [NY Times Mag]