New information from Edward Snowden's past on the Internet's many backchannels reveals he once had some pretty strong feelings about WikiLeaks, the organization he's now working closely with to insure his safety — and about government leakers in general, as well as the fate of their... testicles.
We know Snowden left an Internet trail a mile long before he got a job with National Security Agency contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for pretty much the sole purpose of leaking classified government documents to the press. After Reuters found the embarrassing website Snowden made with his friends after high school, we learned Snowden went by the name TheTrueHOOHA online. That username, of the three unearthed, emerged as his most frequent choice. It led us to his posts on the ArsTechnica message board, which led to the discovery of today's hilarious irony.
ArsTechnica has a mammoth investigation into Snowden's activities on their IRC chat rooms from over four years ago. The conversation in these rooms was pretty casual, like "barroom banter," the tech site reports. Snowden mostly talked about what it was like living in Switzerland, with the girls and the chocolate and such, during his time as a CIA employee. But occasionally he would talk about politics and economics, and that's when his true personality would show. He was "abrasive" and thought he was "the smartest guy in the room." Two longtime users who realized Snowden's ArsTechnica identity after his usernames were revealed remembered him as "kind of a dick," and a "cockmonger." Snowden would often get into testy exchanges with people in the chatrooms there. He wasn't the most polite person on the Interent. "As for those who didn't agree with him about the rightness of the gold standard or the need to eliminate Social Security, they weren't just mistaken—they were 'retards.'" Veteran users started unearthing old chatlogs of Snowden's from his time as a regular there, and they reveal he's completely changed his views on Wikileaks and the practice of government leaking. One exchange really stuck out because, well, check this out (emphasis ours):
Are they TRYING to start a war?
They're like Wikileaks
they're just reporting, dude.
They're reporting classified shit
about an unpopular country surrounded by enemies already engaged in a war
and about our interactions with said country regarding planning sovereignty violations of another country
you don't put that shit in the NEWSPAPER
moreover, who the fuck are the anonymous sources telling them this?
those people should be shot in the balls
That's Snowden comparing The New York Times unfavorably to WikiLeaks, the group that's leading his legal affairs right now — and then offering a creative suggestion for his own fate as a government leaker.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.