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

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9 Comments

  1. I for one am sick of them using terrorism to make us feel bad for expecting our govt to stop trampling all over our privacy and rights. I frankly just don’t believe our govt anymore. They have used that card too many times.

  2. Thanks, slamfu. I should have added “lying” to the other three. :)

  3. I’m sorry, IMHO, Snowden/Greenwald are the liars.

  4. dduck. Sorry, forgot to put a “winky” face on my previous comment to Slamfu Have done so

  5. Nobody wants our military compromised or to have Americans placed in lethal danger. But, the question really is: how do we believe that these generalities represent real facts. Let’s look to recent history.

    When the Snowden leaks first surfaced, we were told there 50 or so cases where the meta-data collection program stopped terror attacks. There was even vague reference to the New York subway conspiracy. Then it changed to: well it “helped” in the process, but there were still at least three specific attacks stopped by this program, with, again reference to the NY subway system. Then, finally, someone had to admit that no, that wasn’t really true. The only case where the meta-data program proved was truly essential had to do with some guys in San Diego sending money to some guys in Somalia, with no specific relation to any terrorist attack plans against the U. S. And now we have the President’s study group saying it did not stop any attack or planned attack on America or American interests.

    In addition to that tree of logic, deception, embellishment and sleight of tongue, we also had John Clapper, in response to questions from Senator Ron Wyden, telling us that there was no information being gathered on Americans, unless it might be happening unwittingly. To which he would later reply that (something to the effect of) he should have been less dishonest in his response.

    Ok, here we go again. Generalities that are unsubstantiated. Can we please have 20 or 30 specific and verifiable instances where these assertions can take some shape? Please.

    Btw, I believe the report says these things, and I do not entirely discount their veracity. But, we have been through too many overstatements and outright lies to simply accept these types of generalities at face value. I’ve seen enough to justify some healthy skepticism, while being mindful of the need to protect sources and methods.

    And, to repeat, I don’t care if Snowden is the spawn of Satan. To use personal attacks against Snowden to discredit civil libertarians who are fighting for very American principles they believe in, as Chairman Rogers seems to infer in one of the quotes, is really unfortunate. Just my view.

  6. What ES said. Stuff needs to be declassified and soon if doubts about this information are to be refuted. If the damage is already done, why is it still classified? I know it’s complicated when one judge says the three instances helped and the other says it didn’t. I would be satisfied with less than 20 or 30 specific and verifiable instances; 3 would be fine.

    And I’m not concerned if NSA only “helped”, that’s good enough for me and probably for those who were kept safe with their helping. What I do want to know is how much of what’s left out there to be published is going to do real damage to our military. And if anyone is really going to publish it.

  7. Let me put on my lower-east side cap: Did he take classified stuff that wasn’t his?
    If the stuff he stole is useless as some of you are saying, then he stole useless stuff. If he stole useless stuff, but may have committed a crime, then come back and let the government prove that it was NOT useless stuff.
    Better yet, stay in Russia and enjoy all its freedoms and pleasures and the U.S. saves a ton of money on trials and possible prison time.

  8. It’s really simple. The government has already established itself as a liar..many,MANY times over. Edward Snowden has not.

    Hmmmm…who to believe…who to believe.

  9. What a pity it’s become so hard to know what is real and what isn’t when it comes to the NSA. Damage control? Pushback? Lies? Truths? When credibility is breached then trust naturally becomes strained. The importance of our national security is beyond dispute, but what price are we willing to pay? Given the apathy many Americans seem have about giving up rights and expectations of dignity (on a host of issues) in our society I can’t help but view NSA overreach as another slippery slope.

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