I have talked to several current and former government employees and this has been on my mind a lot today, so I thought I would throw it out there. Could Snowden’s intelligence files cracked by China and Russia be directly related to the OPM government hack?
Though many see Snowden as a privacy rights hero, in my mind he is firmly in the traitor column. Granted he exposed the depth of NSA spying on American citizens, but is that enough to ignore everything else he has done? Has there been any other time in the history of the US that a member of an intelligence agency fled to (China and then) Russia for asylum, taking with them almost 2 million secret documents, leaked other classified information that put US & allied tactics at risk and not been considered a traitor?
The encrypted files that Snowden took with him that he arrogantly considered “uncrackable” have, according to the Sunday Times, been cracked by both the Russians and Chinese. And the information in these files have forced the British MI6 to “pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries”.
But the issues isn’t that they just needed to remove agents from countries. According to BBC political correspondent Chris Mason, “the problem for UK authorities was not only the direct consequence that agents had been moved, but also the opportunity cost of those agents no longer being in locations where they were doing useful work“.
Basically these agents were “outed”. Their lives could have been at risk and it may even be hard to get replacement agents back into certain positions to restore the human intelligence links that were destroyed by Snowden’s “indiscretion”.
What has the effect of this been on the US? I wonder how the Chinese know to hack Anthem earlier this year that provided health insurance for many Federal Employees? And how is it that reportedly the exact same Chinese group hacked the OPM and recovered millions of government employees records including the very sensitive SF-86 security clearance forms?
Granted the OPM systems should have been better secured, as they monitored the Anthem hack earlier this year. An agency spokesman told Nextgov, “OPM is closely monitoring the situation. Anthem informed OPM that it shut down the network in question and is working to ensure the security of its systems as it investigates the extent of the breach.”
Is Snowden to blame? As all the documents are classified we may never know. But if the Anthem and OPM hack can be traced back to the files stolen by Snowden, hopefully then the general public will see him as his actions seem to portray him.