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Snowden no hero, national security leader says at UGA


April 15, 2014
By Lee Shearer
Athens Banner-Herald


Edward Snowden is no hero, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a University of Georgia audience on Monday.

Clapper said Snowden made the country less safe.

Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency worker and National Security Agency contractor, leaked details of massive federal domestic and global surveillance programs to journalists last year. The leak prompted a global debate over how to keep security agencies such as the NSA and CIA from violating constitutional guarantees of privacy and where such lines should be drawn.

More recently, some U.S. Senators have accused the CIA of snooping in lawmakers’ computers.

Clapper, speaking in the UGA Chapel, did not address the truth of falsity of specific accusations against national spy agencies, though he said initial articles after Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents were “inaccurate.”

But Snowden’s leaks “have cut deeply” into security agencies’ ability to gather information, he said.

The revelations are “potentially the most damaging theft of intelligence material in our country’s history,” he said. “As a nation, we are accepting, for better or worse, more risk.”

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