House Intelligence Committee: “Snowden Leaks Helped Terrorists”

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It is possible that U.S. House Intelligence Panel members are exaggerating, embellishing or fear-mongering, but this is what The Hill reports:

Edward Snowden’s leaks about National Security Agency programs have put U.S. troops at risk and prompted terrorists to change their tactics, according to a classified Pentagon report.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Mich.) said that the Pentagon report found a significant portion of the 1.7 million documents Snowden took were related to current U.S. military operations.

Rogers said the Pentagon report concluded that Snowden’s disclosures place U.S. forces at greater risk, and that his actions “are likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field.”

“Snowden handed terrorists a copy of our country’s playbook and now we are paying the price, which this report confirms,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “His actions aligned him with our enemy. We have begun to see terrorists changing their methods because of the leaks and this report indicates that the harm to our country and its citizens will only continue to endure.”

If the House Intelligence Committee wasn’t doing any of the above things, then — of course — the Pentagon that provided the classified report to the Committee could be exaggerating, embellishing or fear-mongering.

And it could all be pushback by politicians, defenders of the NSA, “against NSA critics who have called Snowden a whistle-blower and want him to receive amnesty’”

Chairman Rogers:

“Though Mr. Snowden and his defenders claim he is only ‘defending civil liberties,’ the truth is that most of the documents Snowden stole concern vital operations of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force,” Rogers said.

“Snowden handed over great insight to our adversaries, endangering each and every American. Make no mistake, Snowden is no patriot and there is no way to excuse the irreparable harm he caused to America and her allies, and continues to cause.”

Finally,

The panel said that the Pentagon report found Snowden downloaded 1.7 million files. The lawmakers said that while Snowden’s leaks have focused on the NSA phone and Internet surveillance, he also has considerable information on current U.S. military operations.

They say the report found that Snowden’s leaks has “already tipped off our adversaries to the sources and methods of our defense, and hurt U.S. allies helping us with counter terrorism, cyber crime, human and narcotics trafficking, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

Read more here.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist