Snowden leaks put troops, national security in grave danger, Pentagon claims
WASHINGTON — A classified Pentagon report concludes that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden downloaded 1.7 million intelligence files from federal agencies in the single-largest theft of secrets in the history of the United States, according to lawmakers.
The report, they said, asserts that the breach has the potential to put military personnel at risk.
“This report confirms my greatest fears — Snowden's real acts of betrayal place America's military men and women at greater risk. Snowden's actions are likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field,” Michigan Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
The breach tipped off adversaries to U.S. intelligence sources and methods and could “gravely impact” national security, the report found, according to Rogers and Maryland Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the committee's ranking Democrat.
It concluded that much of the information taken relates to current military operations. The statement, however, does not elaborate.
Snowden downloaded the material while working in an NSA facility in Hawaii last year. If he obtained 1.7 million records, he is not thought to have released more than a small percentage to any journalist. The NSA is a Department of Defense agency.
Snowden's supporters have dismissed claims that his actions have endangered national security and have accused federal officials of exaggerating the impact.
“This is straight from the government's playbook,” said ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, an adviser to Snowden. “Remember, the government told the Supreme Court that publication of the Pentagon Papers would cause grave damage to national security. That was not true then, and this report is not true now. Overblown claims of national security rarely stand the test of time.”