Share This Page

Snowden leaks put troops, national security in grave danger, Pentagon claims

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 8:12 p.m.

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.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.