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Booz Allen Exec: Snowden Leaks ‘Inhibit Our Ability to Stop Terrorism’

"It’s going to inhibit our ability to understand nuclear activity in North Korea, what’s going on in Syria" and more.

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Nicholas Ballasy

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July 12, 2013 - 1:02 pm
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Booz Allen Hamilton’s vice chairman said Edward Snowden, a former Booz Allen employee, has done “irrevocable damage” to America’s national security.

“What I’m going to tell you, I’m repeating from [NSA Director] General Keith Alexander,” said Mike McConnell, a former director of National Intelligence, at the Multiple Award Government & Industry conference in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday.

“He said irrevocable damage, irrevocable damage for a long period of time and what you’ve seen so far is just the beginning.”

McConnell then described his personal view of the leak’s impact.

“I’m very concerned that it will inhibit our ability to stop terrorism. It’s going to inhibit our ability to understand nuclear activity in North Korea, what’s going on in Syria, what might be happening with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Whatever we’re interested in or focused on or worried about at the moment,” McConnell said.

He concluded that the “leak has done irrevocable damage to that process” and “it’s going to be hard and expensive” to reverse it.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that U.S. officials “fear that some of the documents Snowden has turned over to journalists disclose NSA methods of hacking into overseas networks, and, if published, will lead targets in other countries — in the Middle East, Europe, East Asia and South Asia — to take new defensive actions.”

The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive is reportedly conducting an “ongoing” investigation.

McConnell also said that the United Kingdom is a “little ahead” of the United States in cyber security technology.

“Remember the UK’s been dealing with terrorism – internal problems. Well, first of all, they don’t have a bill of rights,” he said to laugher from the audience.

“My own view is we won’t get this right, we in the United States will not get this right until we have a legal framework on which to able to be engaged.”

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