Not only did Mr. Snowden show how the NSA intercepts emails, phone calls and radio transmissions of the Taliban in Pakistan; he also revealed email intercepts regarding Iran and the global tracking of cellphone calls looking for unknown associates of non-intelligence targets. Mr. Snowden also told the South China Morning Post about how the NSA hacks into computers and mobile phones in China and Hong Kong. His labors were designed to purposely damage American diplomacy and its relations with some of its closest allies, including the United Kingdom and countries such as Norway and Sweden. All this is in line with the virulent anti-Western, and particularly anti-American, views of Messrs. Snowden, Greenwald and their malicious associates.
It remains to be seen just how much damage has been done to the West’s security architecture as a result of the Snowden disclosures; much of this information would be classified. There has been speculation, however, that the ability to anticipate Russian intentions in relation to Ukraine and Crimea was diminished as a result of having to close down potentially compromised signals-intelligence capability. If true, this would be the first practical demonstration of how Mr. Snowden and his acolytes had successfully damaged security to the benefit of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
The public justification given by Mr. Snowden for his actions was “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things”—surveillance of its citizens—”I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded.” So where does he choose to go? Russia.