The first one was Edward Snowden’s leak of classified data.
This article from Reuters has an update on the damage that Snowden caused.
Britain has pulled out agents from live operations in “hostile countries” after Russia and China cracked top-secret information contained in files leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Sunday Times reported.
Security service MI6, which operates overseas and is tasked with defending British interests, has removed agents from certain countries, the newspaper said, citing unnamed officials at the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Home Office (interior ministry) and security services.
Snowden downloaded more than 1.7 million secret files from security agencies in the United States and Britain in 2013, and leaked details about mass surveillance of phone and internet communications.
[…]British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Snowden had done a huge amount of damage to the West’s ability to protect its citizens.
“As to the specific allegations this morning, we never comment on operational intelligence matters so I’m not going to talk about what we have or haven’t done in order to mitigate the effect of the Snowden revelations, but nobody should be in any doubt that Edward Snowden has caused immense damage,” he told Sky News.
[…]A Home Office source told the newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not grant Snowden asylum for nothing.
“His documents were encrypted but they weren’t completely secure and we have now seen our agents and assets being targeted,” the source said.
A British intelligence source said Snowden had done “incalculable damage”.
“In some cases the agencies have been forced to intervene and lift their agents from operations to stop them being identified and killed,” the source was quoted as saying.
You’ll recall that it was a British agent who stopped a recent attack by an Islamic terrorist. And now, British agents from MI6 are pulling out of their stations. There is a cost to focusing too much on global warming and free contraceptives, and not enough on national security and foreign policy.
Note that we haven’t done anything to Snowden or Russia that might discourage others from doing similar things in the future, because I guess the Democrats think that would be too mean. I don’t think it would be too mean.
Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks
Here’s the second great intelligence failure, Private Bradley Manning.
Bradley E. Manning, the soldier convicted of leaking a trove of classified documents, was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday for the largest public breach of secret data in U.S. history, sparking a debate over the length of his prison term and whether he could ever win an early release.
The judge, Col. Denise Lind, also demoted him from private first class to private and dishonorably discharged him from the Army at a brief court-martial hearing at Fort Meade, Md.
[…]Manning, 25, was convicted July 30 on 20 charges, including six under the Espionage Act, for downloading, copying and passing to WikiLeaks more than 700,000 raw U.S. military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, all classified “Secret.”
[…]His defense attorney, David Coombs, argued that the military was partly to blame because it should have pulled Manning’s access to classified documents after a series of extreme emotional events the junior intelligence analyst experienced during his deployment in Iraq.
Manning raged at superiors, emailed photos of himself dressed as a woman and punched a female soldier in the face.
Manning now wants to get a sex change and be referred to as Chelsea. What exactly was he doing with all of this classified information? Does the Obama administration not check people for these things, or did he get a free security pass because he was gay?
Here’s the third great intelligence failure, the recent China hacking of government employee data.
Here’s Jonah Goldberg writing in The Stream.
[I]t was revealed last week that the Chinese stole millions of personnel files and mountains of background-check information from the U.S. government. I suppose I should say the Chinese “allegedly” stole the information, but many lawmakers, government officials, anonymous intelligence sources and industry experts are convinced that the Chinese did it. Besides, we normally use “allegedly” in such cases because we don’t want to prejudice a jury — and this case is never, ever going to court.
The damage is hard to exaggerate. Former NSA counterintelligence officer John Schindler calls it a “disaster” in a column headlined “China’s hack just wrecked American espionage.” Joel Brenner, America’s top counterintelligence official from 2006 to 2009, says the stolen data amounts to the “crown jewels” of American intelligence. “This tells the Chinese the identities of almost everybody who has got a United States security clearance,” he told the Associated Press.
Countless current and past federal employees are now extremely vulnerable to blackmail and even recruitment by Chinese intelligence operatives. Millions are open to identity theft (the files included all of their personal information, including Social Security numbers, and in many cases medical, family, romantic and substance-abuse histories). My wife, who previously worked for the Justice Department, may have lived a fine and upstanding life, but I don’t relish the fact that some chain-smoking Chinese bureaucrat is going over her personal information.
Many are calling it a “cyber Pearl Harbor.”
I would not want to be a non-official cover agent working for the U.S. government right now.
Next time, let’s vote for the serious party.