A massive new leak from Edward Snowden is believed to be imminent, after the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower tweeted a cryptic 64 character tweet that was deleted minutes later, before going on complete lockdown, leading the world to fear for his safety.
The cryptic 64 character code that Snowden tweeted Friday sparked fears the message was a ‘dead man’s switch’ meaning Snowden is either dead or compromised.
As speculation regarding his situation grew on Saturday, the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted the pithy message “he’s fine” and the Post reporter Barton Gellman, who Greenwald has previously blasted for making false claims about Snowden, followed suit stating he believed Snowden was safe. However until we hear from Snowden himself – and can verify it is really him – fears for his safety remain.
Dead Man’s Switch
A dead man’s switch is a message set up to be automatically sent if the holder of the account does not perform a regular check-in. In Snowden’s case, the message triggered by his dead man’s switch would be the key to the encrypted files he distributed among journalists and associates in 2013.
Snowden’s leak in 2013 sent shockwaves through the intelligence community that are still being felt today, and confirmed suspicions that many people had held about the NSA for years. However the information he released in that leak was a mere fraction of the data he held when he left the United States.
This data was disseminated in encrypted files to trusted journalists and associates. There is a network of people holding encrypted files containing information that was deemed too sensitive to release at the time by Snowden.
Assange Accuses Snowden Of Courting Obama’s Favour
Edward Snowden and Julian Assange of Wikileaks have publicly disagreed over the issue of how much information should be shared, with Snowden criticising Wikileaks for being hostile to “even modest curation.”
Assange, appearing on Real Talk with Bill Maher from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Saturday, said Snowden was attempting to curry favour with the current US administration in the hopes of receiving a pardon from Obama before he leaves office.
“Donald Trump said he would execute him [Snowden] and Hillary Clinton, of course, said she would aggressively prosecute him.
“So from the perspective of Wikileaks, trying to protect its sources, you have two very bad presidential candidates.”
Snowden: “It’s Time”
Three days ago Snowden sent another cryptic tweet, addressed to his former NSA colleagues, with the message “It’s time.” It is understood with Friday’s 64 character tweet that he may have released the key to the encrypted files.
If so it raises the question of whether he is still alive, as fears grow the cryptic 64 character code is a ‘dead man’s switch’ released in the event of his death or captivity.
A dead man’s switch ensures secrets do not go to the grave with the holder of the switch. Employing a switch is also a means of disincentivizing your potential assassination.
Julian Assange is known to have set up a similar dead man’s switch to ensure the survival of sensitive information in the event of his death. Wikileaks insurance files – encrypted files – were shared by Wikileaks with people around the world. If Assange dies unexpectedly, a key to the files will be shared and access made available to the insurance files.
Torrent Sites Taken Offline
Reports surfaced that at least eight popular torrent sites used for distributing large files were immediately taken offline after Snowden’s tweet, suggesting the distribution of files is being suppressed, or at least slowed down, adding to the speculation that Snowden has been compromised and the key to his sensitive insurance files has been released.
Until the world hears from the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower – and we can verify that it is actually him – fears will remain regarding his situation.
Either way, with the release of this 64 character code, coupled with Snowden’s “It’s time” message days earlier, be prepared for a major leak in the near future.