Snowden: Government Worried About A Career-Destroying ‘Smoking Gun’ In NSA Documents

Edward Snowden believes the government might be bracing itself for another explosive bombshell that has yet to be unearthed from the trove of documents he stole from the National Security Agency.

In a lengthy cover story for the September issue of Wired, Snowden told James Bamford that the documents may yield another massive revelation that could be the end of some top government officials.

“I think they think there’s a smoking gun in there that would be the death of them all politically,” Snowden said. “The fact that the government’s investigation failed—that they don’t know what was taken and that they keep throwing out these ridiculous huge numbers—implies to me that somewhere in their damage assessment they must have seen something that was like, ‘Holy shit.’ And they think it’s still out there.”

The Wired story has already gotten plenty of attention for a pair of photos. The cover (posted below) shows Snowden holding an American flag close to his face, a middle finger to the scores of politicians who have branded the former security contractor as a traitor. Another photo used in the story shows Snowden posing with former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden in 2011.


Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at