His reported admission raises questions about where else he may have acquired data.
Edward Snowden took a job at the intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton specifically to steal American intelligence information, according to a report today in the South China Morning Post quoting the NSA leaker's last major interview before his current international manhunt. But instead of settling the question of where Snowden got the files he eventually leaked, the Morning Post's vague revelation raises important questions about his previous employers, and might provide subtle answers on his Chinese exit strategy.
The report from Hong Kong's English-langugage paper isn't specific in its details. It reads, in part:
For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.
“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
This has been reported as though to suggest that Snowden applied for and got his job at Booz in order to pilfer the cache of files he ended up leaking. But it's unclear if Snowden accepted the position to collectall of the information he subsequently leaked or merely some of it. It's quite possible that he had some documents prior to that employment, given that his relationship with reporters from the Guardian predates his Booz employment.