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Spy Blooper: US Gov’t Publishes Snowden’s Email, Busts Lavabit Case

© AFP 2023 / Florian DavidA picture taken on September 29, 2015 shows the Twitter account of former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
A picture taken on September 29, 2015 shows the Twitter account of former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. - Sputnik International
Even the most cherished secrets once come to light. In an careless move, the US government published a pack of unredacted documents containing the email address of Edward Snowden as the target of surveillance in the notorious Lavabit case.

Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com – this is the address the fugitive whistleblower used back in 2013 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to communicate with journalists.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, center speaks via video conference to people in the Johns Hopkins University auditorium, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Baltimore - Sputnik International
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This tiny piece of information in fact sheds light on the high-profile Lavabit case: soon after Snowden’s first revelations about the NSA surveillance hit the press in May 2013, the FBI focused on secure email company Lavabit and served its owner Ladar Levison with an order for a pen register, requiring him to provide the authorities with data on the email activity of a particular Lavabit user.    

The target was Citizen Four. But until the US government’s blooper it had been just an educated guess.

© Photo : cryptome.orgEdward Snowden Targeted by Lavabit NSL
Edward Snowden Targeted by Lavabit NSL - Sputnik International
Edward Snowden Targeted by Lavabit NSL

Levison didn’t want to bow to the pressure and decided not to compromise his principles. He shuttered the brainchild he had been toiling over for 10 years to circumvent the order and has fought in court to have more information about the case made public. He has never revealed who the target person was.

“Three years later, I still cannot tell you who they were after. I keep getting asked the question, and I can’t answer,” Levison told Wired.   

But now we all know the truth – and this time the source of the “leak” is as surprising as ever.

In May 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed documents showing the extent of the US government’s massive spying programs, including on its own citizens.

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