Is Snowden Helping ISIS?

In the Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough canvases former security officials on the question whether Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures are now aiding ISIS. The verdict is unanimous:

A former top official at the National Security Agency says the Islamic State terrorist group has “clearly” capitalized on the voluminous leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and is exploiting the top-secret disclosures to evade U.S. intelligence.

Bottom line: Islamic State killers are harder to find because they know how to avoid detection.

Asked by The Washington Times if the Islamic State has studied Mr. Snowden’s documents and taken action, [Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA] answered, “Clearly.”

“Mr. Snowden “went way beyond disclosing things that bore on privacy concerns,” said Mr. Inglis, who retired in January. “‘Sources and methods’ is what we say inside the intelligence community — the means and methods we use to hold our adversaries at risk, and ISIL is clearly one of those.” …

Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden ran the NSA when al Qaeda struck on Sept. 11, 2001. He moved to modernize technology and methodology in an agency that some internal critics said “had gone deaf” in the 1990s.

“The changed communications practices and patterns of terrorist groups following the Snowden revelations have impacted our ability to track and monitor these groups,” said Mr. Hayden….

Matthew G. Olsen, who directs the National Counterterrorism Center, supports Mr. Hayden’s assessment.

“Following the disclosure of the stolen NSA documents, terrorists are changing how they communicate to avoid surveillance. They are moving to more secure communications platforms, using encryption and avoiding electronic communications altogether,” Mr. Olsen, a former NSA general counsel, said Wednesday at the Brookings Institution. “This is a problem for us in many areas where we have limited human collection and depend on intercepted communications to identify and disrupt plots.”

A former military official said some Islamic State operators have virtually disappeared, giving no hint as to their whereabouts or actions.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, an Iraqi devoted to former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is known to practice evasive tradecraft that undoubtedly improved because of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures.

Edward Snowden joins a growing line of faux whistle-blowers who have done great damage to our national security.

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