Just four years before Edward J. Snowden set off an international firestorm by disclosing highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents, someone using his screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers “should be shot,” according to chat logs made public Wednesday by the technology news website Ars Technica, which hosted the exchanges.
“They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in the New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the United States about Iran’s nuclear program.
His unidentified interlocutor replied, “They’re just reporting, dude.”
But Snowden was not mollified. “They’re reporting classified” material, he wrote, suggesting that both the leak and the article were dangerous to national security. “Those people should be shot” in their private parts.
The discussion of leaks was among many comments by Snowden that Ars Technica obtained from other users of arsificial, a public Internet Relay Chat channel hosted on the Ars Technica server. Other comments show a young American enjoying life in Switzerland — amazed by the high prices, remarking on what he believes is the racism and classism of some of the Swiss, reveling in his own stock market successes.
Snowden’s casual and profane, but apparently strongly felt, condemnation of leaks is an intriguing clue to his political evolution. He is now believed to be in a transit lounge at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, hiding from American prosecutors who have charged him with espionage and theft of government property for leaking the NSA material.
NEW YORK TIMES