James Clapper Admits What Everyone's Been Saying For Months: Snowden Didn't Take 1.7 Million Documents

from the a-bit-slow dept

You know, you'd think that the "intelligence community" would be a bit more intelligent. As we've discussed many, many times, nearly all of the estimates of "harm" concerning Ed Snowden's actions were based on the faulty assumption that he "took" (and revealed) every document he ever "touched" while at NSA -- somewhere around 1.7 million (sometimes referred to as 1.5 million, but then upped to 1.7 million). Except that two of the reporters who got the documents, Glenn Greenwald and Ewan MacAskill, have both said from the very beginning that it was about 60,000.

And yet, NSA defenders keep insisting that he's caused all of this harm because of what was in the 1.7 million documents... nearly all of which he did not take. Indeed, the much-hyped (by NSA defenders) Pentagon report on the "staggering harm" that Snowden has created doesn't actually say that. It says it's "staggering" how many documents he had access to, not that he took. Because the NSA, one year after the first Snowden revelation still has no idea how much he actually took (which certainly raises questions about their vaunted "auditing" of everything done at the agency).

In fact, James Clapper is now admitting that maybe Snowden didn't take so much, and maybe the "harm" wasn't as bad as he, himself, has been arguing:
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says it appears the impact may be less than once feared because "it doesn't look like he [Snowden] took as much" as first thought.

"We're still investigating, but we think that a lot of what he looked at, he couldn't pull down," Clapper said in a rare interview at his headquarters Tuesday. "Some things we thought he got, he apparently didn't." Although somewhat less than expected, the damage is still "profound," he said.
In other words, exactly as pretty much all of us have been saying -- all of the frantic FUD-filled estimates of "harm" were actually massively over-hyped based on faulty assumptions. And yet that never stopped Clapper, Mike Rogers, Keith Alexander, Dianne Feinstein and others from continuing to trot out those bogus numbers, even though tons of people had debunked them. And now that Clapper is finally admitting that he himself over-hyped the supposed "harm" and the documents that Snowden took, he acts as if he's revealing some big news.

Amusingly, the report also claims that the DOD is also lowering its estimate of how much Snowden "touched" from 1.77 million (up from the 1.7 million they had been saying, actually) down to the 1.5 million which was the number they had been using back at the beginning of December anyway. It's almost as if they actually have no idea and are just pulling numbers out of thin air.
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Filed Under: documents, ed snowden, fud, james clapper, nsa, surveillance


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2014 @ 10:04am

    I am still amazed we are hearing about how much damage he caused and about how life threatening all these revelations are. Both Bush and Obama administrations have come right out and exposed active agents in the field, which certainly put an agent's life more at risk than any of the Snowden documents exposed.

    When you get to looking at what was revealed something else jumps up at you. Pretty much all I've seen looks like in house training documents. Not actual work files and data gathering raw files. Stuff that the NSA in house uses to inform and train their own people.

    This should tell you a couple of things. One is there is no data there to expose life endangering events. The NSA itself has already vetted the data before it went into training materials. The second is that if it is deemed good enough for training materiel, one also has to assume it is fairly dead accurate as to what it exposes. Meaning that the government and the NSA has known all along just how damaging it really is in terms of agent endangerment and in terms of secret data exposed. They've just been lying as they go along hoping to find something... anything... to use as evidence of spying that could be used as traitor and not as whistle blower. That pretty much looks to be the whole purpose of denying and lying.

    When one man has more creditability than the entire US government, that too should be speaking volumes. Just like pre-nazi Germany should have been able to see where they were headed just before it all happened.

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