Senior Republican says Snowden's surveillance comments 'dangerous'

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:42am EDT

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers speaks at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers speaks at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington May 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican head of a congressional panel on Tuesday said officials are concerned that former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden's continued efforts to speak out and release intelligence information pose more risk for the United States.

House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, speaking ahead of a hearing on the disclosures, also said concerns remain that Snowden may not have acted alone in leaking information on the federal government's top-secret surveillance programs.

"Anything that he talks about is dangerous," Rogers said on NBC's "Today" program.

Snowden, a former employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked in a U.S. National Security Agency facility in Hawaii, revealed details to the media earlier this month about the U.S. phone and Internet data tracking. Speaking in an Internet chat on Monday, he defended his actions and vowed to release more details on the extent of the agency's access.

Rogers said that it remains unclear how a low-level outside contractor was able to gain such access to so much classified information. No evidence has emerged yet that anyone else was involved in releasing details about the programs.

"We're a little nervous that some of the things he was trying to do exceeded his capability. So we're curious: how did he get that capability, was somebody helping him trying to download this?" Rogers told NBC.

On Tuesday, the congressional panel will hear from NSA director Keith Alexander, who Rogers said is expected to offer more information on terrorism threats that were halted by the surveillance efforts.

Defenders of the programs have said dozens of potential attacks have been thwarted by intelligence gathered through these surveillance programs, but have said they have not been able to discuss them in detail because that information has been classified.

Late Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, reiterated his defense of such surveillance, saying there are trade-offs between privacy and national security. Obama added that content of phone calls and emails are not monitored, a statement echoed by Rogers on Tuesday to NBC.

Rogers added that Snowden "believed wrongly ... that the NSA could listen to Americans' phone calls - they cannot - or that they can read Americans' emails - they cannot."

Civil liberties and privacy advocates have blasted the NSA surveillance programs as government overreach that lacks proper oversight, with some groups taking legal action.

The Justice Department is also investigating Snowden's actions, and U.S. officials have vowed to track him down and hold him accountable for the leaks.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (3)
gacha wrote:
Well, looks like some Republicans and Democrats are on side for one thing.

Again, agree of not with his action, Snowdon’s narrative is bogus. A whistle-blower is usually someone who risks their position with their employers for moral concerns, not someone like Snowdon who took the job knowing full well what type of organization he was applying to IN ORDER TO blow the whistle. From day one Snowdon on the job it seems Snowdon was planning to make a splash. No wonder he kept a low profile with his co-workers. “He’s the quiet guy who looks down at the ground when you pass him in the halls.”

What Snowdon has accomplished, aside from embarrassing the government of the U.S., is absolute government paranoia towards private contractors, and all those unemployed Snowdons filling out applications right at this moment.

Jun 18, 2013 10:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ChangeWhat wrote:
How about admitting you fools violated yet another Amendment for a free people and take responsibility for your actions by resigning?

Jun 18, 2013 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
yoohoohooy wrote:
Article 3, Section 3 of the US Constitution defines treason and its punishment.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

(As far as I can tell, Mr. Snowdon has done none of the aforementioned actions.)

Before you throw the word around in order to sound intelligent, know what it means first. It seems that the blatent stupidity and sheer ignorance has trickled down from the media to the populace. Seek your own education and form your own ideas.

I’ll leave you with this tidbit from James Madison: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Jun 18, 2013 12:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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