The National Security Agency has long been warning that the documents stolen by Edward Snowden put the lives of U.S. troops at risk. But until now, it was not clear how many documents Snowden made off with, or how they could affect the nation’s security.
Now we know: according to a Pentagon investigation, Snowden made off with 1.7 million documents, and many of them deal with the military. The ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee agree with the NSA: Snowden is endangering American troops.
After viewing the Pentagon report on the documents that Snowden stole, Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI)and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MI) concluded that the material Snowden is slowly leaking to reporters is “likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field,” Rogers said in a statement.
“Snowden handed terrorists a copy of our country’s playbook and now we are paying the price, which this report confirms,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “His actions aligned him with our enemy. We have begun to see terrorists changing their methods because of the leaks and this report indicates that the harm to our country and its citizens will only continue to endure.”
According to the lawmakers, the leaks have already “tipped off our adversaries to the sources and methods of our defense, and hurt U.S. allies helping us with counter terrorism, cyber crime, human and narcotics trafficking, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
The massive amount of documents taken by Snowden is by far the biggest theft of classified documents in the history of the United States. And it’s still unclear whether Snowden, who is currently in Russia, will leak all of them.
But if there’s a silver lining in this for the intelligence community and DOD, it’s that reputable news outlets aren’t likely to publish anything that puts the lives of U.S. troops at risk.
That doesn’t appear to be any comfort to Rogers.
“Though Mr. Snowden and his defenders claim he is only ‘defending civil liberties,’ the truth is that most of the documents Snowden stole concern vital operations of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force,” Rogers said. “Snowden handed over great insight to our adversaries, endangering each and every American. Make no mistake, Snowden is no patriot and there is no way to excuse the irreparable harm he caused to America and her allies, and continues to cause.”
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