National Security Agency employees routinely pass around intimate nude shots that they intercept as part of their surveillance assignments, according to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who made the startling revelation during an interview with The Guardian.
Detailing on what exactly employees do when they come across an intimate shot of an attractive subject, he said, "They turn around in their chair and show their co-worker. The co-worker says: ‘Hey that's great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George and George sends it to Tom. And sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people".
On being asked about whether he himself witnessed instances of that happening, Snowden replied, “Yeah, Numerous”, adding that such acts can be more or less frequent depending upon the maturity level of employees.
He added that these are seen as fringe benefits of surveillance positions, and such instances are never reported because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak.
The revelation comes less than an year after the NSA highlighted a handful of instances during which its agents admitted that they used spying tools to snoop on exes.
As for coming home, Snowden reiterated that it won't happen anytime soon, as he believes that he'd never get a fair trial in the US, but added that he is prepared for the worst-case outcome. "If I end up in chains in Guantanamo, I can live with that", he said.
During the interview, he also touched on allegations that he was a Russian spy or agent, dismissing them as "bullshit", and whether he's being watched at his temporary living quarters. He also sent out a message to professionals dealing with sensitive information: urgently upgrade security, and use encryption.
The complete interview will be published today, but the video interview published yesterday is worth a watch.