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Spy Chiefs: Snowden Leak Damage Goes Well Beyond NSA Programs
By Megan Scully
Feb. 4, 2014
Direct of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. told House lawmakers on Tuesday that less than 10 percent of the classified information compromised in the massive U.S. intelligence leak by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden involves the NSA’s controversial metadata program.
The “vast, vast majority” of the leaked information that could pose a threat to the United States touches on a range of topics other than “so-called domestic surveillance,” Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee.
The potential revelations stemming from the leak affect “so many different aspects” of U.S. intelligence efforts, but officials don’t yet know the full extent or impact of the revelations, Clapper added.
During wide-ranging testimony on worldwide threats, Clapper said it is “beyond belief” to him that Russian intelligence officials would not at least make an attempt to take advantage of and exploit Snowden, who has sought refuge in the country after fleeing the United States last year.
At the same hearing, Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the Defense Department is assuming the worst-case scenario as it evaluates the damage caused by Snowden leak. The information, Flynn acknowledged, could give adversaries an operational and strategic advantage.
As it evaluates the long-term consequences of the leak, the DIA has assumed that Snowden stole everything he touched, Flynn said. As a result, the Defense Department is reviewing military actions, events and exercises around the world.
All of the military services will need to make adjustments in their operations, perhaps most immediately in how they handle the threat of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.
“I believe we will face problems with the IED threat because of these leaks, whether it’s in Afghanistan, or on some future battlefield,” Flynn said.