Officials are still trying to figure out exactly how much information is contained in NSA leaker Edward Snowden's cache of classified documents, only a small fraction of which has been released. According to Reuters, officials believe that the document is stored on a remote server somewhere—otherwise known as [spirit fingers] The Cloud —and that three individuals have the passwords necessary to decrypt the files. And on top of that, the passwords are only valid during brief periods of the day.
Snowden is believed to have an "insurance policy" against possible consequences from his actions and the number of documents is still largely unknown, although estimates peg it at anywhere between 50,000 and 200,000 documents from both the NSA and British intelligence.
One official told Reuters that the numbers of documents could supply enough fodder for another two years worth of news reports.
The security may seem extreme, but given the scope of the NSA's operation, Snowden's concerns don't seem too outlandish. According to new reports, the NSA has been gaining access to data by tapping lines that run between companies like Google and Yahoo's data centers. Even Snowden's journalist contacts take extreme precautions: the computer that Lauren Poitras uses to view classified documents has never connected to the web.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.