Risk
6/11/2013
11:31 AM
50%
50%

9 Facts About NSA Prism Whistleblower

Here's what we know about Edward J. Snowden, the NSA contractor last seen in Hong Kong -- and why the Bradley Manning case could affect Snowden's fate.

4. Snowden Carefully Selected Secrets.

Snowden told reporters that the information he leaked was designed to trigger a debate on the "scope of surveillance in America," but also to avoid the types of mistakes allegedly made by Pfc. Bradley Manning, who's accused of leaking documents that put the lives of confidential U.S. sources abroad at risk.

"I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," said Snowden. "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

5. Into Hiding In Hong Kong.

But Snowden didn't sit around waiting to be arrested. About three weeks ago, according to The Guardian, Snowden finished copying the last of the documents he planned to leak, then told his NSA supervisor that he required a two-week medical leave related to epilepsy, for which he was diagnosed last year. Then he flew to Hong Kong, registered at a nice hotel just down the street from the CIA station based in the local consulate, and rarely left, saying it was possible he would be rendered by U.S. agents, detained by Chinese officials, or extradited.

Snowden said he chose Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that enjoys its own economic and political system, for its "spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent." In the short term, he hoped the government wouldn't deport him. Longer term, "my predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values," he said. "The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over Internet freedom. I have no idea what my future is going to be."

6. Charges Filed Against Snowden.

Charges have now been filed against Snowden by the Department of Justice, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The charges pave the way for his extradition, since foreign courts typically require criminal charges to be filed before they'll hear an extradition request.

Multiple investigations are also underway into the leaks. The FBI's Washington field office will lead one investigation. The NSA, meanwhile, launched its own investigation following revelations first published Wednesday by The Guardian, and is trying to ascertain the full extent of the information that was taken and released by Snowden.

7. Hong Kong Extraditions Subject To Delays.

Could Snowden successfully avoid being extradited from Hong Kong? Regina Ip, a former secretary of security who serves in the Hong Kong legislature, said that the territory has a history of working with U.S. law enforcement officials. "He won't find Hong Kong a safe harbor," Ip told the Times.

But Hong Kong university professor Simon Young told The Guardian that China would likely leave it to the Hong Kong courts to decide whether Snowden would be extradited.

In fact, according to GlobalPost, Snowden's choice of Hong Kong looks astute, because the high court of Hong Kong government has charged the government with putting a new extradition system in place, which could take some time. Until it does so, Hong Kong's extradition process is stuck in legal limbo, and no cases will likely be decided, according to Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.

8. U.S. Government Treatment Of Manning Might Safeguard Snowden.

In December, furthermore, a Hong Kong court ruled that no one can be extradited to a country where they might face cruel or unusual punishment, Patricia Ho, a lawyer at Daly & Associates, told GlobalPost. "The reason I think this is relevant," Ho said, "is because if you look at the case of Bradley Manning, during his detention period, he was found to have suffered cruel and degrading treatment. It was found by the UN special rapporteur on torture."

"I would imagine given the similarity in the cases that Snowden could easily say, 'Well, I fear that the same would happen to me,' and use that as a basis to claim protection in Hong Kong," she said. "If he does that I would say his chances of protection would be fair."

9. Snowden Missing As Of Monday.

As of Monday, however, Snowden reportedly checked out of the Hong Kong hotel where he was staying -- perhaps after being located by multiple news outlets -- and his whereabouts were unknown. It's not clear if he'd been interviewed by American officials, as they were seeking to do, or if he might have been detained by Hong Kong authorities.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.