Surely whistleblowers and intelligence community opponents have targets on their heads when it comes to dissenting opinions, but for whistleblower Edward Snowden, his target has grown much bigger in the past year. Aside from the redundant plea against government growth and surveillance, Snowden took up the task of putting words into actions against the increase of bureaucracy, and Snowden’s catching backlash.
Although undisclosed, House Intelligence Committee members have illustrated how the Pentagon is taking direct lash at Snowden’s actions. With the report being touted by members such as Dutch Ruppersberger and Mike Rogers, what’s known of it is little, but telling. Produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and other three-letter-agencies, lawmakers overlooking the report have called Snowden’s actions a “betrayal”.
Rep. Ruppersberger explained, “Snowden handed terrorists a copy of our country’s playbook and now we are paying the price, which this report confirms. His actions aligned him with our enemy.” Both Ruppersberger and Rogers joined other lawmakers last week at the White House for a briefing on the DIA report, being instructed on what and what not to disclose. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to refute besides talking points.
Calling Snowden’s acts a betrayal to American interests, Rep. Rogers warned military personnel of a looming, greater risk. Going as far as saying Snowden’s snowstorm has tipped off American adversaries of counter-terrorism methods, despite no evidence, the two lawmakers dug even further saying NSA leaks hurt efforts against human and narcotics traffickers, cyber crime and weapons of mass destruction.
Along with the bold claims was relatively hot air, considering not one shred of information has been released backing what Ruppersberger or Rogers said. “No specific examples are actually given, and you will also notice in virtually every sentence includes the word ‘could’ — meaning real damage hasn’t actually occurred, they are just saying it potentially could happen,” wrote Trevor Timm of Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The secret report fails to be seen by any independent organization or individual unrelated to the Pentagon apparatus or Congressional staff, making the interpretations and claims one-sided at best. Claims like these from Rogers and Ruppersberger have been made before, ironically from Rogers in particular, regarding the NSA leaks. In July, Rep. Rogers was the one to throw out the “number 54” when describing how many terrorist attacks have been thwarted because of NSA surveillance.
Rogers said, “Fifty-four times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in Europe — saving real lives,” adding that what officials are dealing with is “real”. Yet with the statistics, reports and trumped fear by Rogers, his ultimate claim turned out to be half-truths and misleading reports.
Of course, until the classified information comes out showing Snowden’s unintended role in terrorist activities, no one besides the policymakers and bureaucrats making these claims can actually know.