Quotes from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man

Luke Harding ·  333 pages

Rating: (3.2K votes)


“Snowden’s itinerary does, however, seem to bear the fingerprints of Julian Assange. Assange was often quick to criticise the US and other western nations when they abused human rights. But he was reluctant to speak out against governments that supported his personal efforts to avoid extradition.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland observes that Britain ‘has a fundamentally different conception of power to, say, the United States’. It doesn’t have a Bill of Rights or a written constitution, or the American idea that ‘we the people’ are sovereign. Rather, the British system still bears the ‘imprint of its origins in monarchy’, with power emanating from the top and flowing downwards. Britons remain subjects rather than citizens. Hence their lack of response towards government intrusion.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Given Germany’s totalitarian backstory – the Nazis then communists – it was hardly surprising that Snowden’s revelations caused outrage. In fact, a newish noun was used to capture German indignation at US spying: der Shitstorm. The Anglicism entered the German dictionary Duden in July 2013, as the NSA affair blew around the world. Der Shitstorm refers to widespread and vociferous outrage expressed on the internet, especially on social media platforms.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Snowden was horrified to discover that behind bars he would have no access to a computer.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Snowden evidently knew of WikiLeaks, a niche transparency website”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man



“As much as 25 per cent of the world’s current internet traffic crosses British territory via the cables, en route between the US, Europe, Africa and all points east. Much of the remaining traffic has landing or departure points in the US. So between them Britain and the US play host to most of the planet’s burgeoning data flows.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Do we want to live in a controlled society or do we want to live in a free society? That’s the fundamental question we’re being faced with.’ EDWARD SNOWDEN”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“The encounter demonstrated the difference between newspaper cultures on either side of the pond. In the US, three big newspapers enjoy a virtual monopoly. With little competition, they are free to pursue leads at a leisurely, even gentlemanly, pace. The political culture is different too, with the press generally deferential towards the president. If anyone asked Obama a tough or embarrassing question, this was itself”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Paradoxically, in its quest to make Americans more secure, the NSA has made American communications less secure; it has undermined the safety of the entire internet.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Barack Obama, in a 2007 stump speech for his nascent presidential campaign, had pledged, ‘No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more National Security Letters to spy on American citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do no more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man



“The oversight mechanism in the US may have been broken, but in Russia it didn’t exist.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“By the time of the GDR’s demise, two in every 13 citizens were informers.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“His girlfriend of eight years, Lindsay Mills, joined him in June on Oahu, which means ‘the gathering place’. Mills grew up in Baltimore, graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art, and had been living with Snowden in Japan.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Excruciatingly, Obama’s fellow Nobel Laureates turned on him as well. More”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“himself vehemently denies this. Putin’s own attitude towards whistleblowing activities was undoubtedly negative. He later described Snowden as a stranniy paren – a strange bloke. ‘In effect, he condemned himself to a rather difficult life. I do not have the faintest idea what he will do next,’ he said. Putin was a KGB officer who served in communist East Germany in the 1980s, and was the former head”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man



“The US’s main clandestine objective in Mexico was to keep tabs on the country’s drug cartels. A”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“the easy bit – passing the material to sympathetic journalists – was proving tricky.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“With the surveillance issue now so obviously toxic the Obama administration did something it was good at: it sat on the fence.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“It began with an email. ‘I am a senior member of the intelligence community …”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Snowden was alert to the possibility that foreign intelligence services would seek his files, and was determined to prevent this. As a spy, one of his jobs had been to defend American secrets from Chinese attack. He knew the capabilities of America’s foes. Snowden made clear repeatedly that he didn’t want to damage US intelligence operations abroad. ‘I had access to full rosters of anybody working at the NSA. The entire intelligence community and undercover assets around the world. The locations of every station we have, all of their missions … If I just wanted to damage the US I could have shut down the surveillance system in an afternoon. That was never my intention,’ he said. He”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man



“The agency had set up fake local internet cafes equipped with key-logging software. This allowed GCHQ to hack delegates’ passwords, which could be exploited later. GCHQ also penetrated their BlackBerrys to monitor email messages and phone calls. A team of 45 analysts kept a real-time log of who phoned whom during the summit. Turkey’s finance minister and 15 other members of his delegation were among the targets. This had, of course, nothing whatever to do with terrorism. The”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Snowden called the NSA ‘self-certifying’. In the debate over who ruled the internet, the NSA provided a dismaying answer: ‘We do.’ The slides, given to Poitras and published by Der Spiegel magazine, show that the NSA had developed techniques to hack into iPhones. The agency assigned specialised teams to work on other smartphones too, such as Android. It targeted BlackBerry, previously regarded as the impregnable device of choice for White House aides. The NSA can hoover up photos and voicemail. It can hack Facebook, Google Earth and Yahoo Messenger. Particularly useful is geo-data, which locates where a target has been and when. The agency collects billions of records a day showing the location of mobile phone users across the world. It sifts them – using powerful analytics – to discover ‘co-travellers’. These are previously unknown associates of a target. Another”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“Nick Hopkins, the Guardian’s investigations editor, had liaison with the intelligence agencies as one of his regular tasks. After the TEMPORA disclosures, Hopkins suggested a peace meeting with a GCHQ official to clear the air. He replied: ‘I would rather gouge my eyes out than be seen with you.’ Hopkins responded: ‘If you do that you won’t be able to read our next scoop.’ Another GCHQ staffer suggested – with tongue in cheek – that he should consider emigration to Australia. The”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“The NSA’s original mission was to collect foreign intelligence. But it appears to have drifted away from its original goal, like a vast supertanker floating away from its anchor. It is now sucking in a lot of domestic communications. In this new era of Big Data, the agency moved from the specific to the general; from foreign targeting to what Snowden called ‘omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance’. The”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man


“ProPublica’s technology reporter Jeff Larson joined the bunker in London. A computer science graduate, Larson knew his stuff. Using diagrams, he could explain the NSA’s complex data-mining programs – no mean feat.”
― Luke Harding, quote from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man



About the author

Luke Harding
Born place: The United Kingdom
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