Just four years before Edward Snowden set off an international firestorm by disclosing highly classified 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.
“They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name, “TheTrueHOOHA,” and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in The New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the US about Iran’s nuclear program.
The chats were hosted on the server of the technology news Web site Ars Technica, which reported on them in an article. The discussion of leaks was among many comments that Ars Technica attributed to Snowden after obtaining them from other users of #arsificial, a public Internet Relay Chat channel.
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 Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, hiding from American prosecutors who have charged him with espionage and theft of government property for leaking the NSA material.