Count us among those who share the director of national intelligence’s outrage that Edward Snowden is being feted by some as a hero for revealing national secrets.
Earlier this month two newspapers, The Washington Post and The Guardian, won the Pulitzer prize for reporting Snowden’s leaks.
The 30-year-old has been profiled in national magazines, nominated for the Nobel Prize and compared to Thoreau by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
So James Clapper’s impatience with the adulation was apparent when he appeared before the GEOINT 2013* Symposium in Tampa recently.
As the Tribune’s Howard Altman reported, Clapper told the crowd of homeland security experts:
“This is potentially the most massive and most damaging theft of intelligence information in the nation’s history. What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way beyond his professed concern for the expression of privacy. He stole and leaked secrets about how we protect U.S. businesses from cyber threats, and how we support U.S. troops in war zones, and other leaked documents directly put Americans lives at risk and as a result we have lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources.”
Snowden was employed by a National Security Agency contractor to help protect the nation from terrorist attack.
Instead, he illegally downloaded secrets and indiscriminately released them, compromising the security of the United states and its allies and endangering lives.
Liam Fox, a member of Parliament and Britain’s former secretary of state for defense, aptly detailed the impact of his treachery in a recent Wall Street Journal article: “As a result of Mr. Snowden’s activities and the information that has now become available to our enemies, we have seen terrorist groups in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and in other parts of South Asia, discussing the revelations in specific terms, including the communications packages that they have used up till now and those that they will move to in the future, now that they know how they have been monitored. We have actually seen chatter among specific terrorist groups, at home and abroad, discussing how to avoid what they perceive to be vulnerable communications methods and, consequently, how to select communications that they perceive not to be exploitable. No doubt these terrorist groups are extremely grateful to Mssrs. Snowden and [Guardian reporter Glenn] Greenwald and their accomplices for these useful tools in their war against our citizens, our armed forces and our way of life.”
Snowden professes to be a champion of privacy, but rather than raise complaints to superiors or go through legal channels, he decided that he should release national secrets without any regard for the harm to his nation and those who defend it. Unlike more conscientious whistleblowers, he sought to elude responsibility for his deeds.
He scuttled away to find refuge in that citadel of freedom — Russia, which has relished the opportunity to embarrass the United States.
Thanks to Snowden, as Clapper says, “our nation is less safe and our people less secure.”
Clapper and Fox are correct. This sniveling turncoat merits the nation’s disdain, not its esteem.