Although 60 Minutes is being slammed for its NSA-friendly segment, Sunday’s report did provide insight into the dire situation for the agency that Edward Snowden created.
The 30-year-old hacker took “the keys to the kingdom,” which include 31,000 files detailing U.S. intelligence on other country’s military capabilities as well as information about U.S. capabilities and U.S. gaps.
According to “Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry” by journalists Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady, that information comprises America’s most important intel:
“The most closely held secrets by the United States are what we know about everyone else’s secrets and how we came to know them.”
Rick Ledgett, head of the task force investigating Snowden’s raid on the NSA’s systems in Hawaii, explained to the CBS that the information “would give [other countries] a roadmap of what we know, what we don’t know, and give them, implicitly, a way to protect their information from the U.S. intelligence community’s view.”
Ledgett added that “none of those crucial documents have been leaked” despite Snowden’s precarious position living under the supervision of Russia’s security services.
That’s why Ledgett said granting the 30-year-old amnesty is “worth having a conversation about” if a deal led to the return of the NSA’s unleaked secrets.
That’s a remarkable prospect, and NSA chief Alexander is against the idea because the next leaker could “race off to Hong Kong and to Moscow with another set of data knowing they can strike the same deal.”
Adding to the intrigue, the agency thinks Snowden still has access to 1.5 million files while Snowden has suggested that the most important files are part of the doomsday cache that he no long has access to.
In any case, the consideration of amnesty goes illustrates the catastrophic potential of the Snowden leak.
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