Yesterday’s cover story in Wired by James Bamford was epic in many ways. Jim, a friend of the film’s, spent three days with Edward Snowden in Moscow and came away with brilliant new insights into Snowden’s character and motivations.
Beyond that, Snowden dropped two new revelations. One was about the NSA having systems that can automatically fire back against foreign cyber attacks without waiting for any human decision-making.
Vanity Fair said this about the second Snowden disclosure: “The juiciest of those new revelations pertains to Syria, a country from which Snowden says the United States government was keen to gain more information — through expectedly nefarious means.”
When the Internet went down in Syria for three days at the end of 2012 it was not due to the Assad regime pulling the plug on activists and opponents. It was due to the NSA screwing up its attempt to implant surveillance software on the Syrian pipes. Instead of being able to siphon all the data coming out of Syria, the NSA bricked the pipeline altogether. Whoops.
We were actively filming at the time with three of our characters during the Syrian Internet failure. None of them had any idea it was the NSA. Now we know the truth. This ironic twist will add plenty of drama to the film. And help build a bridge between the story of Syrian Internet surveillance and the NSA.