Snowden's leaks 'most serious' in US history

2013-10-26 08:32
Edward Snowden (File, AFP)

Edward Snowden (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Leaks from Edward Snowden have helped America's adversaries and represent the most serious breach of classified information in US history, the CIA's former number-two ranking official said in an interview on Friday.

Michael Morrell, who served as deputy director and acting director of the CIA, told CBS television's 60 Minutes programme that the former intelligence contractor's disclosures have damaged efforts to track possible terror threats.

"What Edward Snowden did - has put Americans at greater risk - because terrorists learn from leaks and they will be more careful, and we will not get the intelligence we would have gotten otherwise," said Morrell, who recently stepped down after 33 years at the CIA.

Snowden has portrayed himself as a whistleblower concerned about National Security Agency eavesdropping and other secret surveillance, but Morrell said the former contractor was a traitor to his country.

"I think this is the most serious leak - the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the US intelligence community," he said.

The most damaging disclosure from Snowden exposed the intelligence community's secret budget, or "black book", Morrell said.

Details of what the intelligence agencies spend money on reveal priorities and potential weaknesses that foreign spy services can exploit, he said.

"They could focus their counter-intelligence efforts on those places where we're being successful. And not have to worry as much about those places where we're not being successful," Morrell said, in excerpts of the interview released by CBS.

The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday.

Morrell also warned of the dangers posed by political acrimony in Washington after a partial government shutdown dismayed allies and rattled domestic and foreign markets.

"What really keeps me up at night is the inability of our government to make decisions that will push this country forward," he said.

"Any country's national security is more dependent on the strength of its economy and on the strength of its society than anything else."

Morrell served as CIA deputy director from 2010 to 2013, and was named acting director twice, including in November 2012 after retired general David Petraeus resigned after acknowledging an affair with his biographer.

Read more on:    cia  |  edward snowden  |  us  |  privacy

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
34 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.