Edward Snowden is the “most costly leaker of American secrets in the history of the Republic,” this according to ex-NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden. The 30-year-old was contracted by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency and leaked confidential details about government surveillance practices. Snowden fled overseas and was charged with espionage, should he return to American shores.
Hayden decries the NSA leaker as in a class of his own when it comes to America’s history, saying Snowden goes beyond Benedict Arnold, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeaker Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
“Snowden fled to China with several computers’ worth of data from NSANET, one of the most highly classified and sensitive networks in American intelligence. The damage is potentially so great that NSA has taken one of its most respected senior operations officers off mission tasks to lead the damage assessment effort,” Hayden wrote on CNN.com
Hayden also criticizes Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald for his role in the story, saying he’s “far more deserving of the Justice Department’s characterization of a co-conspirator than Fox’s James Rosen ever was.”
Snowden officially submitted his request for asylum in Russia via a hand scribbled note this week. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday (July 19) that he is unaware if Snowden will seek citizenship.
Photo: CBS News