Snowden's US Detractors Say He Was Smart Enough to Fool Americans But Not Russians

Over at The Daily Beast, Eli Lake reports on how U.S. officials and pols are almost certainly exaggerating the extent of the damage done by National Security Agency (NSA) whisteblower Edward Snowden.

For instance, the admitted liar and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

said a week ago that Snowden’s activities have placed the lives of intelligence officers and assets at risk. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said if one were to stack the documents stolen by Snowden it would be three miles high....

But the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] assessment is based on two important assumptions. First, it assumes that Snowden’s master file includes data from every network he ever scanned. Second, it assumes that this file is already in or will end up in the hands of America’s adversaries. If these assumptions turn out to be true, then the alarm raised in the last week will be warranted. The key word here is “if.”

Lake points out a huge number of contingencies at play:

The DIA’s assessment assumed that every classified system Snowden visited was sucked dry of its data and placed in a file. DIA director Gen. Michael Flynn put it this way on Tuesday in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: “We assume that Snowden, everything that he touched, we assume that he took, stole.”

According to various sources, it's likely that many of the documents that Snowden took are not only encrypted but that the keys to the docs are distributed among various individuals in the government to make it next to impossible for one person to decrypt material. That's done so spies can't simply nab one person with the goods.

But Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who has accused Glenn Greenwald without evidence of selling state secrets and who routinely exaggerates the role of mass NSA surveillance in capturing terrorists, figures the Russkies have the drop of Snowden:

“If [Snowden] really believes he has created something the Russian intelligence services can’t get through, then he is more naïve than I think he already is,” Rogers said. “That makes a huge leap of assumption that a guy by the way who has not been quite honest about how he got where he was and what he stole and for what purpose to believe the fact that no one can get to this but me. I don’t believe it.”

Read Lake's full piece here.

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  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Russia sheltered one of our whistleblowers, we sheltered two of their Chechnyan terrorists...they have the moral high ground on this one.

  • wareagle||

    as a bonus, we were even told the Tsarnaev brothers could be trouble and they proved it. In fairness, though, imagine the outcry had we rounded them up because they might do something.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, you really can't go around rounding people up on Russia's say so. If you want to have anything like a free society, you have to accept that people will be able to do bad things if they really want to.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stay in school, kids. Otherwise you'll end up the worst traitor in the history of the universe.

  • SForza||

    But Clapper stayed in school.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yeah, hero patriot school.

  • SForza||

    Traitorous fool at patriotic school!

  • SForza||

    Is Mike Rogers the dumbest Republican in Congress? The dumbest person in Congress?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    He doesn't have the drive or initiative to attain such lofty goals.

  • ||

    Peter King?

  • SForza||

    King and the California girls (Feinstein, Pelosi, and Boxer) have said some hellaciously stupid things in the past, but they've been slacking lately. Feinstein was Derp Strong in the immediate aftermath, but she's been coasting on her security-shill laurels.

  • ||

    PK has been shockingly low-profile recently.

  • wareagle||

    nah, Rogers just has the security boner. These folks are programmed to stick to the narrative, no matter how flimsy it is.

  • John Thacker||

    He pretty easily believes anything the security folks tell him.

    To be fair, the US intelligence community (both security folks and professionals) actually does tend to under utilize things like encryption (or even intelligent password controls) in favor of trusting their air gap and physical security. It's actually kind of ridiculous how many highly classified systems have things like "password" as the password, or widely known shared root passwords, simply because people trust the air gap.

    From that line of thinking, once the documents have physically left the secure space, they're going to be compromised.

  • Tonio||

    I could have gone the rest of my life without seein that particular picture of Brezhnev. [shudders]

  • Tonio||

    "seeing"

  • SForza||

    A moment on the optic nerve, a lifetime in the spank bank.

  • Herpes Trismegistus||

    I had no idea he wore all those medals just to keeps his tits from sagging to hos knees. Live and learn.

  • Herpes Trismegistus||

    his.

  • SForza||

    Whose knees? Ho's knees!

  • Herpes Trismegistus||

    Hosni Mubarak's knees. How do think the Egyptian Air Force got all those MiG's in the 60's?

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    Goddammit Gillespie. Some of us are eating lunch.

  • Raston Bot||

    So many statists are crapping their small clothes. These are beautiful times we're living.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    "Government isn't the problem, it people and their hubris..." One of the commenters trying to attack Snowden without hurting the "Big Gov is good narrative".

    That's like saying "Bombs aren't bad, it is exothermic reactions that are the problem"

    As a scientist, I would love to slice those brains open and check out the cognitive dissonance light show of neurons.

  • Jon Lester||

    The Texas Libertarian Party seems to have someone in every race, but I see Emily Pidova, running against Mac Thornberry in TX13, could really use a Facebook page and a web site, if anyone's so inclined.

  • db||

    It is a little known fact that Charles Schumer considered Brezhnev one of the most.influential figures in his.early.political studies.

  • Tonio||

    deeb, all.the.periods in place.of spaces are because you're posting from a phone, right?

  • db||

    You try posting from a phone while curb-stomping an epileptic 85-year-old for resisting arrest.

  • PH2050||

    Fuck me, there's more derp in those Daily Beast comments then there was on Bailey's "evolution vs creationism" Reason article.

  • Lyle||

    Why aren't Snowden supporters urging him to come back to the United States? Y'all can all hero worship him in the flesh if he comes back home. And can he truly be a great hero of liberty while the guest of the dictator Putin. You know that guy who is running his "Big Brother" Olympic Games.

    What are you people afraid of, you're own government? Can't be. If so, scaredy cats the lot of you.

  • Baron Von Weinermobile||

    Wow! Thank you Lyle for opening my eyes! Your infallible logic has completely changed my stance on this topic. It is all so clear now.

  • Lyle||

    Great, what was your position before and why?

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    Clapper is a perjurer, rather than a simple liar. Perjury is what you call it when you lie to important people.

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