The UK newspaper The Independent published a story on a secret Middle East-based intelligence station, claiming some of the information for the story was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden. The problem, according to Glenn Greenwald, is that Snowden denies ever talking to The Independent and being a source for the story. The story is likely to be damaging to UK and US interests in the region.
Snowden this morning said he wants it to be clear that he was not the source for the Independent, stating:
I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger. People at all levels of society up to and including the President of the United States have recognized the contribution of these careful disclosures to a necessary public debate, and we are proud of this record.
So if it wasn’t Snowden, then who? And perhaps more importantly, why? Snowden offered a troubling explanation for the leak.
“It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post’s disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others. The UK government should explain the reasoning behind this decision to disclose information that, were it released by a private citizen, they would argue is a criminal act.”
Intelligence agencies often engage in discrediting tactics and as the British intelligence services have made clear, they are willing to go to extreme lengths to promote their agenda. But is that what is behind this leak?
Oliver Wright (no relation) an editor at The Independent who worked on the story said “For the record: The Independent was not leaked or ‘duped’ into publishing today’s front page story by the Government.” There is no evidence to the contrary at the moment, but one of the sources for the story is cited as coming from the British government – an anonymous “senior Whitehall source.”
So the question remains, did someone go rogue or was this an approved leak with ill intent?