The Guardian reports: A former senior British secret intelligence officer on Thursday played down any potential damage done by the leaks to the Guardian of the spying activities of GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency, apparently contradicting claims made by UK security chiefs.
The leaks, by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were “very embarrassing, uncomfortable, and unfortunate”, Nigel Inkster, former deputy chief of MI6, said.
While Inkster said it was too early to draw any definite conclusions about the impact of the leaks, he added:
“I sense that those most interested in the activities of the NSA and GCHQ have not been told very much they didn’t know already or could have inferred.”
Al-Qaida leaders in the tribal areas of Pakistan had been “in the dark” for some time – in the sense that they had not used any form of electronic media that would “illuminate” their whereabouts, Inkster said. He was referring to counter measures they had taken to avoid detection by western intelligence agencies.
Other “serious actors” were equally aware of the risks to their own security from NSA and GCHQ eavesdroppers, he said. [Continue reading…]