There have been hints throughout the media and various releases that a second Snowden may be lurking at the NSA. Whether he/she is still employed at the agency is the remaining question.
With the recent leak of NSA (TAO) Tailored Access Operations tools being auctioned on the internet by a group calling itself The Shadow Brokers and Snowden making a cryptic call to action
just mere weeks prior, are we witnessing the beginning of a major operation to expose secret hacking practices and cyber weapon tools used to do so? Is someone trying to highlight how vulnerable software and hardware is to the NSA?
The release of the cyber equivalent of the Kraken was accompanied by a message in broken English and an auction of the tools that the Shadow Brokers group calls “Cyber weapons.”
The hack raises many questions but the obvious is – if it was state sponsored by Russia as the media has insisted, why auction the tools? Additionally if Wikileaks has the tools maybe the auction was a promotional thing and not legitimate.
The existence of a second Snowden-type leaker at the NSA has been hinted at before. Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, the journalist and original reporter of Snowden’s files, has even said that there is a second Edward Snowden to Snowden himself in the documentary Citizen Four.
In October 2014, the FBI raided the home of the suspected second Snowden, who is presumed to have leaked how the U.S. puts people on suspected terrorist watch-lists, a classified 166-page document that was given to the intercept August 2014.
“So, what this individual did, this whistleblower, was done at great personal risk, but also has had an immediate impact on an issue that affects well over a million people, including many, many American citizens. What it also revealed is that the city of Dearborn, Michigan, population 96,000, which has the largest percentage of Arab Americans per capita and Muslim Americans per capita, is the number two city in the United States—the top five all consist of huge cities—New York City, Chicago, San Diego, Houston—but this small city outside of Detroit, Michigan, is the number two place where the U.S. intelligence community says there are known or suspected terrorists residing. It is abundantly clear that that is—it is religious and ethnic profiling at its core. And the only reason we know that is because of a whistleblower taking great personal risk to reveal this to the American public and to the world,” said Jeremy Scahill in Citizen Four, the Snowden documentary.
Additionally, in June, 2015, Wikileaks released a trove of documents on former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac’s conversations between 2006 and 2012. The documents also featured conversations by current French president Francois Hollande. This prompted U.S. and European Intelligence officials to open up an investigation into this leak and suspected second Snowden.
Then in December 2015, another leak happened a leak of the NSA’s ANT Catalog, not attributed to Snowden by Wikileaks.
Wikileaks also added in that it’s received the Shadow Brokers release of NSA hacking tools prior and will be releasing them in due time.
We had already obtained the archive of NSA cyber weapons released earlier today and will release our own pristine copy in due course.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 16, 2016
So a second or even third or fourth Snowden isn’t out of the question and is highly likely with more and more people becoming tired of doing what they know is wrong more may emerge.
Alternatively, these documents might have come from these documented NSA intelligence leakers.