Exclusive: NSA Director Was Secretly Briefed on 22 Counter-Intelligence Operations Undermined by Snowden Leaks

New docs show Director of NSA and President were secretly briefed on “significant” damage to CI operations
US News • Views: 22,969

Since Edward Snowden absconded from the National Security Agency last year with hundreds of thousands of classified documents, the NSA has made several public statements on the leaks, citing “grave damage”, “catastrophic impact” and the “worst leak in history”, but refused to comment on the specifics of the damage caused.

But now, thanks to documents declassified as part of a FOIA request, we can exclusively reveal that senior NSA staff secretly briefed their own director and the President that 22 ongoing counter intelligence operations had been impacted as a direct result of the leaks - 11 were “significantly” undermined.

The briefings took place in July last year - within weeks of Snowden’s first leaks reaching the press, and just days after Snowden revealed how the NSA spied on the Russian President.

The documents - obtained by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act - centre around an email exchange between Chris Inglis - then Deputy Director and head of day-to-day operations at NSA - who asked Richard Legett - the head of the Media Leaks taskforce for a “no BS” counter-intelligence damage assessment for a classified briefing to the White House.

The redacted document blacks out the specifics of the operations affected, but simple analysis of the redacted areas show the number of operations affected.

In Legett’s document, briefed to the Director of the NSA and later briefed to the President, Legett gave details of 11 counter-intelligence operations that were “significantly impacted” - meaning that the NSA was scrambling to repair the damage. A further 11 CI operations were “moderately” impacted, meaning the NSA thought it could contain the damage, but the damage was still significant enough for the NSA to brief the President on it.

External Image

It’s worth remembering that counter-intelligence isn’t just about stopping diplomatic secrets from being leaked: In 2006, British counter-intelligence failed to stop Alexander Litvinenko - a UK citizen - from being assassinated on the streets of London by Russian intelligence.

In 2010 the FBI arrested 10 Russian SVR deep cover operatives operating in the United States - including Anna Chapman - who were tasked with recruiting US policy-makers including White House officials and political fundraisers. Their task was to steal secrets relating to US foreign policy, military weaknesses and “United States policy with regard to the use of the Internet by terrorists”.

The declassified document comes in stark contrast to the sensationalism and absurdity that has bedevilled so much of the past year of revelations. It’s a timely reminder that NSA has important tasks to do - like counter-intelligence - and that the leaking of huge volumes of classified documents about how the NSA targets America’s enemies has inevitable and serious damage to their ability to protect the nation.

It’s also a vindication of all the NSA officials who have spent the past year saying the damage was serious and real, but they were deliberately withholding the details for fear of compounding the damage.

Now at least, we know that’s true.

Also see

Read the email exchange

External Image

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
It’s Already Sexism Season on College Campuses!Your calendar might be telling you it is still July, but the wheels are already turning for the upcoming school year...and naturally, the latest rash of appalling stories of what women have to deal with on American college campuses. We ...
bratwurst
5 hours, 43 minutes ago
Views: 135 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Pope Visits Auschwitz Deathcamp During Poland Visit Pope Francis arrived on Friday at Auschwitz, the notorious former German Nazi concentration camp in Poland, in a historic visit to pay tribute to the more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, who lost their lives there during World ...
Thanos
22 hours, 45 minutes ago
Views: 114 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
One San Diego Police Officer Killed, Second Hurt One of two police officers shot in San Diego early Friday has died, authorities said. "It is with a very sad heart that we announce the death of one of our officers tonight. Pray for his family," the San ...
Thanos
22 hours, 54 minutes ago
Views: 130 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
• Eumir Deodato - Rhapsody in Blue• 1973 LP •Great funky cover of this Gershwin classic. From Deodato 2 CTI LP, another classic album.
Thanos
1 day, 11 hours ago
Views: 138 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
David Crosby - Behind the Scenes of Lighthouse Behind the scenes of David Crosby's new record "Lighthouse". Lighthouse is available for pre-order on CD and Vinyl now, and will be available October 21st worldwide. Pre-order digital: smarturl.itPre-order physical CD: bit.lyPre-order vinyl: bit.lyPre-order Amazon: smarturl.it Produced by Michael ...
Thanos
1 day, 11 hours ago
Views: 118 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Eva Atmatzidou - Rondat - Acoustic Guitar Music downloads and Guitar Tabs available at: candyrat.com itunes: itunes.apple.comApple Music: itun.esAmazon: amzn.com Composed and performed by Eva Atmatzidou.Recorded by Vangelis Karapetros (Studio Puzzle).Filmed by Eleftheria Anthi. Visit Eva Atmatzidou at : Website: atmatzidou.grFacebook profile: el-gr.facebook.comFacebook page: facebook.com ...
Thanos
1 day, 11 hours ago
Views: 118 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Live Corpse Flower Cam at NYBGA corpe flower is set to bloom....uh, sometime... and here is the live feed. Quite the rarity. Quite the aroma. Watch. Don't blink.
nines09
1 day, 15 hours ago
Views: 247 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 30 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Dark Patterns: User Interfaces Designed to Trick PeopleThe ugly ethics of modern UI designs - where black hats are expected. Presented by Harry Brignull at the UX Brighton Conference. 90percentofeverything.com
Thanos
1 day, 17 hours ago
Views: 310 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
DNA Study Reveals the One and Only Wolf Species in North America The first large study of North American wolf genomes has found that there is only one species on the continent: the gray wolf. Two other purported species, the Eastern wolf and the red wolf, are mixes of gray wolf ...
Thanos
1 day, 21 hours ago
Views: 220 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 4 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Photographer Sues Getty Images for Selling Photos She Donated to Public A well-known American photographer has now sued Getty Images and other related companies—she claims they have been wrongly been selling copyright license for over 18,000 of her photos that she had already donated to the public for free, via ...
Thanos
1 day, 21 hours ago
Views: 305 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 31 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 2
Comments: 1
: 4