Snowden’s diplomatic leaks may hurt whistleblower status


On Monday’s Now with Alex Wagner, guest host Joy Reid and the panel discussed Edward Snowden’s latest leak to German magazine Der Speiegel. The leak revealed that the U.S. had spied on its European allies, including bugging the E.U. diplomatic mission in Washington and tapping into its computer network in 2010.

The latest leak, as well as a previous one published in The Guardian last month detailing the NSA’s interception of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s phone calls, have caused diplomatic headaches for the administration and called into question Snowden’s stated goal of raising awareness of the domestic surveillance the U.S. government conducts on its citizens.

Wired magazine’s James Bamford, author of “The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America,” said this latest leak hadn’t really harmed American security.

“I don’t think it has really put Americans at risk,” he said. “I think what it’s done is pretty much confirm what most of the people in Europe pretty much assumed all along–that the U.S. spies.”

He added, “It’s been going on a long time. What is unusual is not that these revelations have come out, but that you actually have the revelations backed up by actual inside NSA documents.”

President Barack Obama, speaking at a press conference in Tanzania Monday, made largely the same point.

“I guarantee you that in European capitals there are people who are interested, if not in what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be,” he said. “That’s how intelligence services operate.”

Snowden's diplomatic leaks may hurt whistleblower status