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Edward Snowden Used Bitcoin to Pay for Servers Used in NSA Leak

Edward Snowden also brushed off claims that bitcoin is mainly used by criminals, arguing: “There are a hell of a lot more criminals that use the dollar.”

The servers Edward Snowden used to leak thousands of documents to journalists were paid for using bitcoin (BTC), the National Security Agency whistleblower revealed at the Bitcoin 2019 Conference on June 27.

Snowden was working as a CIA subcontractor in 2013 when his leak revealed that telecom companies and governments were involved in “almost Orwellian” mass surveillance programs that swept up the phone records of unsuspecting Americans.

Speaking via video-link from Russia, he described the ability to exchange and transact without being watched and recorded “is the foundation of all rights” — and said bitcoin was helping to deliver privacy in an age of heightened surveillance.

He also warned of the detrimental impact that smartphones and social networks will have on our right to privacy in the future, adding:

“It used to be that governments could watch you, but now all of this happens with devices that we, ourselves, pay for. And while we do that privacy stops being the status quo and liberty stops being the natural state of things.”

Snowden, who has been granted a three-year residency permit in Russia, also insisted that the principle behind having a right to privacy isn’t about having something to hide.

Elsewhere during his appearance, Snowden dismissed criticism that bitcoin is mainly used by criminals, arguing: “There are a hell of a lot more criminals that use the dollar.”

Last year, Snowden had voiced concerns about bitcoin — claiming that the cryptocurrency’s blockchain was “devastatingly public” and prone to abuse.

At the time, he expressed support for ZCash, claiming that it was the “most interesting” altcoin on the market because of its privacy setup.

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CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ They Know Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto

The quest in pursuit of the man behind the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto never ends. Since the birth of Bitcoin, the world’s curiosity about this mysterious character just keeps growing about as much as the increasing value of Mr. Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency.

CIACentral Intelligence Agency

Many people started to search for information in an attempt to discover who is the enigmatic character, yet no one has been able to find the answer with complete certainty.

A little over a month ago, Daniel Oberhouse, who writes for Motherboard, had the idea of exercising his right to be informed and formally asked the FBI and the CIA to clarify whether they had documents to prove Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity.

According to his words, The FBI did not answered his letter, but after a month, the CIA did reached him:

“My request with the FBI is still open, but a month after I filed my FOIA request with the CIA, I received a terse reply that informed me that “the request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.”

CIA: An Agency Expert on Ambiguous Answers

This form of response, known as the Glomar Response, is typical of the intelligence agency when it wants to evade liability while avoiding further damage legally. Wikipedia explains the use of the term as follows:

“There are two common situations in which Glomarization is used.

The first is in a national security context, where to reject a request on security grounds would implicitly suggest that the documents or programs that the requester is seeking indeed exist, but to confirm their existence would mandate their disclosure.

The second instance is in the case of privacy, in which a response as to whether a person is or is not mentioned in an entity’s (e.g., law enforcement, mental health facility, etc.) files may have a stigmatizing connotation.

Glomar responses are commonly associated with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.”

A curious fact is that precisely this form of expression is so traditional in the CIA that its first Tweet made an explicit reference to it:

Will We Ever Know Who Satoshi Nakamoto Is?

Given the characteristics of the response, the fact that it is a matter of national security opens the door to much speculation. The simple point of denying it would not have generated any greater consequence other than the disappointment of the curious.

The CIA’s response only raises uncertainty, although it is understandable that they did so. Previously, there have been many claims of people “discovering” who Satoshi Nakamoto truly is: Dorian Nakamoto, Craig Wright, Ross Ulbrich and some theories that state that Bitcoin is precisely a creation of governments.

The doubt remains, and it seems that only Satoshi Nakamoto can reveal his true identity.