Excerpts have appeared in the Guardian for the ‘The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World's Most Wanted Man, by reporter Luke Harding, from the British newspaper The Guardian, comes out in the UK this week, with a U.S. release date of February 11.
While Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter and blogger entrusted by Snowden with the first meeting in Hong Kong and the NSA files is working on his book from his home in Brazil, his associate Harding has released the first book on the elusive Snowden.
Greenwald almost missed one of the top stories of the decade as he ignored the first two emails sent to him in 2012 from a sender who requested that he set up encryption on his software.
Harding writes in the book: ‘This mystery correspondent asked Greenwald to install PGP encryption software on his laptop. Once up and running, it guarantees privacy (the initials stand for Pretty Good Privacy) for an online chat. Greenwald had no objections. But there were two problems. 'I'm basically technically illiterate,' he admits. Greenwald also had a lingering sense that the kind of person who insisted on encryption might turn out to be slightly crazy.’
The first steps were cautiously taken by Guardian at that point, The Guardian's U.S. Editor Janine Gibson drew up plan before publishing, including seeking legal advice and working out a strategy for approaching the White House. 'She had some tough decisions to make,' writes Harding.
Washington had an opportunity to disavow the story. By British standards, the deadline was fair: Four hours was given. But for Washington, where journalist-administration relations sometimes resemble a country club, this was nothing short of outrageous.
Gibson knew that she would be on the phone with FBI deputy director Sean M. Joyce, NSA deputy director Chris Inglis, or Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. All would have input.
The author writes: ‘By fielding heavyweights, the White House had perhaps reckoned it could flatter, and if necessary bully, the Guardian into delaying publication. Gibson explained that the editor-in-chief -- in the air halfway across the Atlantic -- was unavailable.' She said: 'I'm the final decision-maker.'
Finally patience and politeness was lost when a member of the Washington group shouted, ‘You don't need to publish this! No serious news organization would publish this!' Gibson replied, ‘with the greatest respect, we will take the decisions about what we publish.'
Harding describes Snowden's early years as a teen, next the army and onto the CIA as a highly intelligent and gifted computer geek. He had a short, unhappy stint in the army but was discharged due to a bad injury. He ended up at the CIA and displayed interest in the McCain candidacy for president and libertarian Ron Paul.
It becomes foggy when he became disillusioned with the Obama administration which led him to make the choices he made after access to NSA files and the techniques used by the government.
Snowden is in Russia and has extended asylum from Putin. Changes have occurred in the Obama administration. The most notable will be in March as Gen. Keith Alexander had announced in March of 2012 that he would leave the NSA. Obama announced last Thursday that Vice Admiral Mike Rogers, a cyber-expert, would take over the NSA and Cyber Command which is under the same person. He will assume the position March 1 after Senate hearings and approval for the Cyber Command position. The NSA position comes under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Defense.
Richard Ledgett, a civilian, has been chosen as the NSA’s deputy director. Ledgett, currently the agency’s chief operating officer, has led the agency’s response to the fallout from Snowden’s leaks. His nomination doesn’t require Senate approval.
To view more information on the role of NSA and Cyber Command leader, the increased budget in 2014 for Cyber security and Vice Admiral Mike Rogers please, see the list below in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article with Snowden's interview with German reporters.