Steven Aftergood writes: By leaking classified intelligence documents, Edward Snowden transformed public awareness of the scale and scope of U.S. intelligence surveillance programs. But his actions are proving to be no less consequential for national security secrecy policy.
“These leaks have forced the Intelligence Community to rethink our approach to transparency and secrecy,” said Robert S. Litt, General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He spoke at a March 18 Freedom of Information Day program sponsored by the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University Washington College of Law.
Mr. Litt made it clear that he did not approve of the Snowden leaks, which he said were unlawful and had “seriously damaged our national security.” Yet he stressed that the leaks have also prompted a reconsideration of previously accepted patterns of secrecy.
“We have had to reassess how we strike the balance between the need to keep secret the sensitive sources, methods and targets of our intelligence activities, and the goal of transparency with the American people about the rules and policies governing those activities.” [Continue reading…]