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Tyler Bass
Forbidden Knowledge TV
April 6, 2015

In a funny, hard-hitting interview with John Oliver, fugitive Edward Snowden said he may have aided extremists in Iraq by leaking top-secret National Security Agency documents. Though The New York Times failed to redact information Snowden provided — documents that could give militants like al-Qaeda an upper hand — the former NSA systems analyst maintained that his disclosures were serving a greater good.

In January, under the headline “From the National Security Agency,” The New York Times published a top-secret 2010 NSA presentation on smartphone technology. The newspaper blacked out a key section in the document, but merely selecting, copying and pasting the blacked-out section allowed readers to see text the Times had tried to censor.

“And in the end,” said Oliver,” “it was possible to see that something was being used in Mosul on al-Qaeda.”

The HBO host was referring not to an NSA capability used against al-Qaeda but to smartphone messaging software the Times’ document ultimately explained to be “heavily used in [by] AQI [al-Qaeda Iraq] Mosul Network.” The Times has since replaced its insufficient redaction, which cryptography website Cryptome continues to host.

Snowden and Oliver agreed on the danger the Times’ errors posed, while Oliver chided the former systems administrator for not having read thousands of NSA documents before beginning to leak them to international media in June 2013.

Alexandra Bruce

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