The missing NSA PowerPoint slides — best kept secret?

Kevin Poulsen writes: What’s in Edward Snowden’s 41-slide PowerPoint deck that’s so hot that nobody dare publish it?

Now that Snowden has revealed himself to the world as the NSA whistleblower, details about his interaction with the press are surfacing. And at the center of the drama is a still mostly unpublished 41-slide presentation, classified top secret, that Snowden gave to the Washington Post and the Guardian to expose the NSA’s internet spying operation “PRISM.”

Only five slides from the presentation have been published. The other 36 remain a mystery. Both the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and the Post’s Barton Gellman have made it clear that the rest of the PowerPoint is dynamite stuff … which we’re not going to be seeing any time soon. “If you saw all the slides you wouldn’t publish them,” wrote Gellman on Twitter, adding in a second tweet: “I know a few absolutists, but most people would want to defer judgment if they didn’t know the full contents.”

But as Gellman himself has reported, Edward Snowden urgently wanted all the slides to be published while also saying: “I don’t desire to enable the Bradley Manning argument that these were released recklessly and unreviewed.”

So, we’re in the curious position where the two journalists the whistleblower is relying on to deliver his message seem to have taken it upon themselves to serve as both messengers and gatekeepers.

If you could see these secret slides you’d know why they must remain secret — that’s exactly the argument the government makes. The Guardian and the Washington Post seem to be casting their source as both responsible and irresponsible.

And let’s not forget: we’re talking about PowerPoint slides and information whose continued secrecy is vital to national security could surely be redacted.

On the other hand, as Edward Tufte duly notes, the NSA itself in its list of useful information sources didn’t bother including PowerPoint presentations.

So, maybe that’s the reason we haven’t seen the remaining 36 slides. When Gellman said, “If you saw all the slides you wouldn’t publish them,” perhaps what he actually meant was that the other 36 slides contain nothing of interest whatsoever.

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One thought on “The missing NSA PowerPoint slides — best kept secret?

  1. usa = orwell 1984

    down with the US. avoid any technical company in the US as much as you can… thats the message to the world.
    the US should die on the amount of data they stole form the rest of the world.
    boykott usa

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