What Really Happened with Snowden’s Rubik’s Cube?

snowden rubik's cube

What really happened with Snowden’s Rubik’s Cube? (Getty)

Edward Snowden’s Rubik’s cube played a key role in the Snowden movie. But how much of what was portrayed was accurate and actually happened? Did Oliver Stone take any creative liberties? We’ve got spoilers for the movie below, so don’t read on unless you’ve already seen it, just in case you’re not up-to-date on all the latest Snowden news or didn’t see the trailers for the movie.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Rubik’s Cube Was Snowden’s Idea, But He’s Only Hinted that Everyone in the Office Had One

The movie portrayed Snowden as smuggling out classified information through a tile in his Rubik’s cube. But did it really happen that way? The fact is that we’re not really sure, but Snowden himself hinted that there may be some truth behind the portrayal. He did use a Rubik’s Cube to identify himself when he first met with Glenn Greenwald, but most people who follow his story already know that part. However, Snowden has been tight-lipped about how he actually smuggled out his classified information. The movie shows him downloading files onto an SD card and then hiding it inside a Rubik’s cube. He then avoids running the Rubik’s cube through security by tossing it to a security guard, who plays with the Rubik’s cube while Snowden passes through security. Then he’s free.

Oliver Stone told The Daily Beast that he doesn’t actually know how Snowden smuggled out the information. “We don’t know. None of us know,” he said. However, it was Snowden who suggested that they portray the scene at the end in the way which they did.

During a live Q&A after the film was aired on Thursday, Snowden was asked about the Rubik’s cube scene with the guard. He said that the Rubik’s cube was put in for the film and he wouldn’t be divulging how he smuggled out information. However, he added, everyone in the office did have a Rubik’s cube. “So they were floating around and coming in and out all the time,” he said.

You Can Smuggle Information in a Rubik’s Cube

If you want, you actually can smuggle information in a Rubik’s Cube. On YouTube, AntVenom shares how it can be done:


Alexander Anpilogov also made a video about how you can hide information in a “Snowden cube,” although this isn’t quite how it was achieved in the movie:

On Reddit, plowkiller pointed out an inaccuracy about the Rubik’s cube, saying that the trailer shows a tiled Rubik’s cube. But Rubik’s didn’t switch to tiled cubes until December 2013, when Snowden leaked his data in June 2013.

What do you think? Do you think Snowden smuggled his information out with a Rubik’s cube? Let us know in the comments below.

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