Damage to the nation from Snowden still ongoing

He’s gone but not forgotten. I’m speaking of Edward Snowden, who has largely disappeared from the news cycle of late. But he’s still hanging out in Russia as a continual reminder of how he betrayed his nation and released a trove of secrets which are plaguing us to this day. That’s literally true as it turns out. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center recently reported that Snowden leaks are still turning up in the wrong hands all over the world and it’s been causing serious issues for the intelligence community. (Associated Press)

“This past year, we had more international, Snowden-related documents and breaches than ever,” Bill Evanina, who directs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said at a recent conference. “Since 2013, when Snowden left, there have been thousands of articles around the world with really sensitive stuff that’s been leaked.”

On June 5, 2013, The Guardian in Britain published the first story based on Snowden’s disclosures. It revealed that a secret court order was allowing the U.S. government to get Verizon to share the phone records of millions of Americans. Later stories, including those in The Washington Post, disclosed other snooping and how U.S. and British spy agencies had accessed information from cables carrying the world’s telephone and internet traffic…

U.S. intelligence officials say they are still counting the cost of his disclosures that went beyond actual intelligence collected to how it was collected. Evanina said intelligence agencies are finishing their seventh classified assessment of the damage.

Snowden’s biggest defender is, of course, Glenn Greenwald who is quoted heavily in the article. He keeps insisting that this is all being blown out of proportion and that it’s “no big deal” because the government hasn’t been able to prove a single case of someone being actually killed as a result of the leaks. It’s an insane argument, as this report confirms. Multiple intelligence agencies contributed to the latest damage assessment and most of what they reported is so classified that they can’t discuss it for fear of causing even more cascading damage. Methods and sources have been revealed. The individuals we’re supposed to keep tabs on in other countries have been able to learn if they were being monitored and how it was done so they could avoid detection in the future.

Has anyone actually died, as Greenwald continues to point out? How would we possibly know? If they were the sort of resources we need to work the hardest to protect, that’s not exactly the sort of thing you’re going to list in the obituaries.

And yet, in many corners, Snowden is still somehow lionized. He’s facing decades in prison if the Russians ever turn him over to us (which is something I think President Trump would have managed by now if he was as cozy with Moscow as some people keep claiming). But back at home, they’ve made a major motion picture characterizing him as a misunderstood hero. He’s regularly invited to “speak at” conferences via remote feeds. I’m shocked we haven’t seen a simulcast hologram of him dancing at the MTV movie awards. It’s a strange old world after all.