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Snowden obtained nearly 2 million classified files in NSA leak – Pentagon report

Edward Snowden downloaded 1.7 million intelligence files from US agencies, the most secrets ever to be stolen from the US government in a single instance in the nation’s history, according to lawmakers who have viewed a classified Pentagon report.

Legislators who saw the secret report claimed that many of the  documents taken by Snowden regarding military options could put  personnel at risk, although they did not delve into specifics.

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,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.),  chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement.  Rogers had recently ignited some controversy after joking that  Snowden should be placed on a military “kill list.”

The whistleblower downloaded all of the material he would  eventually leak while earning over $100,000 annually and working  at an NSA facility in Hawaii last year. The Washington Post  reported that if Snowden did indeed download 1.7 million he may  have only released small percentages of that total to individual  journalists.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) – the ranking member of the  House Intelligence Committee – agreed with Rogers, claiming the  amount of information Snowden took could “gravely  impact” US national security. Yet others, including American  Civil Liberties attorney and Snowden adviser Ben Wizden, say  government officials are overstating the risk.

This is straight from the government’s playbook,”   Wizner said. “Remember, the government told the Supreme Court  that publication of the Pentagon Papers would cause grave danger  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.”

Sources came forward in August, two months after the press began  reporting Snowden’s leaks, to admit that authorities were unsure  exactly how many documents Snowden obtained.

Two anonymous officials told NBC News at the time that the NSA  was using poor compartmentalization techniques – meaning that  Snowden, an IT systems administrator, was able to freely comb  through agency networks containing a wide range of data. NSA  Director Keith Alexander said in August that the government knew  what Snowden had taken, while the NBC sources in fact said the  NSA was “overwhelmed” with trying to find out the  details.

Alexander said in an October speech that the documents were   “being put out in a way that does the maximum damage to NSA  and our nation.” He also told the audience that Snowden had  far fewer documents to reporters than this week’s Pentagon report  described.

I wish there was a way to prevent it,” he told a  Baltimore, Maryland crowd. “Snowden has shared somewhere  between 50,000 and 200,000 documents with reporters. These will  continue to come out.”

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Source: rt.com

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