Although Snowden is held in high esteem by ordinary citizens of America, as a whistle-blower, there are quite a few who swear otherwise. A pentagon official told BuzzFeed, “I would love to put a bullet in his head.”
These sentiments are shared by many. Michael Hayden, former NSA and CIA chief, and Mike Rogers, chair of house intelligence committee, have joked about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list in Cyber security Summit,
One of the analyst at NSA commented, “In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself.”
Some have gone to the extent of fantasizing his death claiming that he deserves to die. An army intelligence officer said:
- “Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower”
A defense contractor commented:
- “His name is cursed every day over here. Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him”
Although there are no indications for any vindictive stances by the US as of now and President Obama too chose to dwell away from Snowden topic in his 45-min speech, desire-for-revenge mood is quite widespread with the intelligence community.
Snowden’s revelations have damaged intelligence operations considerably and there is outrage among the common public as well as international communities. Mike Rogers said:
- “Snowden is no patriot, and there is no way to excuse the irreparable harm he caused to America and her allies, and continues to cause”.
Besides, the lost trust, the leaks have also endangered national security. Shaw Turner, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence said the leaks have unnecessarily and extremely damaged the intelligence community’s national security efforts.
Another ranking Democrat, Dutch Ruppersberger, on the House Intelligence Committee commented that the leaked documents have alerted the terrorists who have changed their operating methods.
Intelligence workers are definitely bearing the brunt of the leaks. They feel their sources have become useless and increased their blindness. As pointed by an NSA officer:
“I do my work in a combat zone so now I have to see the effects of a Snowden in a combat zone. It will not be pretty.”
Although Snowden’s defenders consider the claims to be overblown, some specific consequences cannot be ignored. A DOD official said that Snowden leaks have highlighted their collection partners and this resulted in terrorists to drop those carriers and email addresses.
“We can’t find them because he released that data. Their electronic signature is gone,” he said.
Can the dilemma of national security vs right to privacy ever sorted out?