Claims About Snowden's 'Harms' Based On Two Assumptions Unlikely To Be True

from the fud dept

There have been multiple attempts lately by the likes of James Clapper and Mike Rogers to insist that the Snowden leaks have created massive “damage” to the US and have put people at risk. Over at the Daily Beast, Eli Lake looks into those accusations and notes that they’re based on two assumptions, neither of which are likely to be true:

But the DIA 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.”

On the first assumption, that he took every piece of data he ever touched, that’s almost certainly not true. Snowden himself has detailed a few times how he carefully went through the documents to make sure that what he was sharing was limited and not too broad. In fact, in his very first interview he stated:

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

And on the second question, Snowden’s also made it fairly clear that he no longer has the documents and even US officials appear to be of the opinion that he never gave them to any foreign government. While there is the possibility that foreign agents have been able to get them from various reporters who have portions of the collection, there’s still the first issue about what documents are actually included in all of this.

Either way, just the fact that officials are going around insisting that there’s been tremendous harm based on two rather questionable assumptions shows just how far they’re willing to go to fear monger about the whole situation when there’s still been no actual evidence of any harm anywhere as a result of these leaks.

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Comments on “Claims About Snowden's 'Harms' Based On Two Assumptions Unlikely To Be True”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Claims About Snowden’s ‘Harms’ Based On Two Assumptions Unlikely To Be True

Claims About Snowden’s ‘Harms’ Based On A Bunch Of Assholes Delusions


Note: you can use variations such as “based on a bunch of ideas taken out of a few prominent asses” or “based on green leprechauns Rogers saw during his experiences with absinthe and LSD” and so on.

DannyB (profile) says:

Snowden's documents

Snowden’s documents:

1. They tell some people what they already knew but thought would never be proved.

2. They tell other people what they already knew was true, but that things are actually much worse than they thought.

3. They tell other people that something is actually wrong and they should wake up.

The first group were formerly called mad, insane, paranoid cooks. They are now called technology experts.

The second group formerly consisted of technology experts but now consist of ordinary non tech savvy citizens.

The third group formerly consisted of ordinary non tech savvy citizens, but now consists of congress critters.

Anonymous Coward says:

How odd, when the government gets butt hurt over revelations, suddenly they are worried about threats to their agents and the like.

Yet when it served their purpose they had no issue whatever it seems with the same sort of circumstances and absolutely no government official was ever called to face the music over the releasing of secret data in the Valery Plame affair.

How convenient and sadly telling.

mpriz (profile) says:


I could be fine with Snowden except for one thing. He claims that it did it because wanted the U.S. to be more a more open society. I could believe this if he had fled to a more open society. I admit that he did not go to North Korea, but he went to the next two countries down on the list of closed societies – China and Russia. Why didn’t he flee to Brazil or Switzerland? Snowden is a two faced lying bastard now living in one of the most closed societies on earth. I gotta tell you, Russia has gotten from Snowden everything Snowden has. He will be thrown out of Russia in a year because Russia will have everything they need from him.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Snowden

The problem with choice of country was he had to get to a country that wasn’t too friendly with the US, otherwise they’d have just deported him back, and it also had to be powerful enough that it would be able to stand up to the US when they applied what ‘persuasion’ they could to get him deported.

That said, I believe he was planning on heading to Brazil(could be off on that one though), it’s just the US stranded him in Russia by yanking his passport.

As far as ‘getting everything Snowden has’, he didn’t have anything at that point, he’d already handed it over, and you can bet nothing exposed so far, and likely nothing up and coming, is even remotely surprising to any of the bigger countries, they certainly didn’t need Snowden to tell them what they already knew.

Anonymous Coward says:

“There have been multiple attempts lately by the likes of James Clapper and Mike Rogers to insist that the Snowden leaks have created massive “damage” to the US and have put people at risk.”

Funny how they worry so much about their(NSA) people , but hey the American citizens should be perfectly fine the Constitution that’s old news . It would be nice to see them defend Americans like this, but Instead they only worry about their co-workers and secret programs.

Anonymous Coward says:

But Snowden’s actions have caused harm.
Now even the most supine and slavish of US allies can no longer pretend that the US can be trusted, not even the tiniest amount.
The long term effects of that will have serious repercussions.

Of course, sane people would place the blame for that, where it belongs, with the criminal actions of agencies of the US state. Britain also will find that they will also be excluded more in the future, bet they won’t blame the right people either.
The price will be paid for generations.

[name withheld for security reasons] says:

There is little detail missing from this discussion: you never prove risk.

Does not exist. You can only prove safety (at pre set benchmark). So, technically, Clapper is right. Unless proven otherwise, it must be assumed everything is out. Isn’t it basic rule of computer safety?

And given that Glenn and Laura admitted how tech rudimentary they were at first while dealing with Edward, it is very likely Russians and Chinese have the docs by now (might not have broken yet). This Guardian honcho waltzed right into interview at Mira Hotel brandishing his shiny Iphone with brand new ringtones! All while Feds were knocking girlfriend’s door at HI.


Can you guys slow down, please? It is Monday, and already two NSA stories. Save some for later.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

CIA Puts CIA Agents At Risk And In Harm's Way

Clapper = hypocrite. Does Clapper and the CIA not *constantly* put our agents at risk, by merely deploying them or assigning them missions abroad? Covert missions are dangerous, no? But I suppose they justify THAT risk because they think the risk is worth the benefit. That is reasonable.

So how is it any different that Snowden might put some agents at risk, while the benefit is the defense of our rights, the constitution, and the 4th Amendment?

Interestingly, so far, it’s pretty clear to me that Snowden HAS benefited me, as a citizen. I’m not so sure that’s true for Clapper. Gov’t repeatedly fails to provide evidence that their surveillance has provided results.

Snowden Clapper
Has put agents at risk ? Y
Defends citizens/rights Y N
Self-Righteous Y Y
Pants on fire ? Y

The score favors team Snowden.

*as a side note, I proposed, for argument’s sake, that Snowden DID put agents at risk, but I am not convinced that this is even true. Yet it is certain that the CIA puts the CIA agents at risk.

lew2048 says:

National Surveillance Agency is completely incompetent

NSA looks so bad from the mere existence of Snowdon, much less the stupidity that all of the information he has revealed shows, that they must really, really hate Snowdon.

That is the reason they have to discredit Snowdon. IF they keep the spotlight on ‘the traitor’, they don’t have to deal with all of their stupidities.

Unfortunately for them, they are represented by Brezhnev-style appratchiks while Snowdon is very, very credible, as charismic as techies ever get, and every release of information makes NSA look worse, reveals more lies.

NSA will not survive in its present form without the military completing the coup, tho it may take a few years to shut it down.

GEMont (profile) says:

Tell a lie often enough, eliminate contradiction, and it becomes the truth

Sadly, the fed knows that if they simply keep on calling Snowden a traitor and claiming that he has harmed agents in the field and damaged the Fed’s ability to do legal and standard espionage abroad, the public will eventually buy the package whole-hog.

I mean, look how well they handled the 9/11 false flag operation after the fact.

Even the most astute Americans now parrot the official version of 9/11, as if it was proven fact, simply because the fed had all media outlets repeat it for years and silently killed off. or destroyed socially any who dissented openly.

They will never relent, never admit the truth, and will continue to scream Traitor, even after they fly a drone into Snowden’s hotel room. They will continue to propagandize the situation until the US public has forgotten there was another explanation, just as they have forgotten the truths of 9/11.

The Fed know the process works and has the bottomless American Taxpayer’s pocket to finance the process no matter how long it takes.

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