The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday that he wouldn’t be surprised if either the Russians or the Chinese somehow obtained secret information on U.S. intelligence programs from Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified documents on the spy agency’s surveillance programs.
Saying that Snowden has a “significant” amount of classified material with him, when asked on ABC’s This Week if Russian or Chinese authorities stole any of it, Gen. Martin Dempsey said “it wouldn’t surprise me.”
“That’s one of those technical means that would exceed, you know, my knowledge. But I’d certainly be concerned about that,” he said.
Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who originally reported on Snowden’s leaked documents, last week chastised the media for speculating about this possibility. “I’ve been really astonished that media figures have been willing to be be so irresponsible as to openly speculate that the Russian government or the Chinese government has obtained information from him even though there’s zero evidence to suggest that has happened,” he said on MSNBC.
“There’s no evidence that he’s given anything to them and he insists that he hasn’t,” Greenwald said, later adding, “There’s very sophisticated encryption technology that prevents data from being obtained even by the most advanced governments.”
In other news:
The Wall Street Journal reports: Iran could begin producing weapons-grade plutonium by next summer, U.S. and European officials believe, using a different nuclear technology that would be easier for foreign countries to attack.
The Financial Times reports: The UK and France have closed their embassies in Yemen amid fears of escalating violence and after the US issued a global travel alert.
The Washington Post reports: Syrian rebels launched a major new offensive against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s northwestern Alawite heartland Sunday, claiming to have overrun a string of villages in the mountains overlooking the coastal port of Latakia.
The Hill reports: White House press secretary Jay Carney on Sunday said the Obama administration is willing to work with Iran if its new government engages “substantively and seriously” to address concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program.