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.

Filed Under: assumptions, dia, ed snowden, exaggerations, harm, nsa

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Zinc, 11 Feb 2014 @ 10:33am

    Wrong question

    Someone should be asking what damage resulted from the NSA doing things they had no business doing?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.