Threat Matrix: Episode 7 – The Snowden profile

Threat Matrix brings you weekly insight into the latest news and trends impacting the cyber and national security communities.

Next week, President Barack Obama is expected to announce changes to the National Security Agency’s controversial telephone metadata collection program. The president met yesterday with key lawmakers to discuss the program. It remains unclear how far Obama will go. But as these deliberations continue behind closed doors, we’re learning more about the person behind the leaks that led to the debate about the NSA’s authorities.

Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who remains on the run from U.S. authorities in Russia, is now believed to have downloaded as many as 1.7 million documents, the vast majority of which deal with U.S. military intelligence issues, according to reports of a recently completed classified Pentagon assessment.

News of the assessment sheds new light on the size and scope of the Snowden security breach and, in the opinion of some experts, casts doubt on Snowden’s claims that he is simply a government whistleblower.