Maggie: After months of silence, the National Security Agency is now talking about its investigation into a former employee who is accused of stealing thousands of top-secret documents over the summer. Keith Kocinski has the latest.
Keith: Edward Snowden is accused of stealing 1.7 million classified documents and leaking top-secret information. The head of the task force investigating Snowden told 60 Minutes that the National Security Agency spent millions of dollars replacing computers that Snowden had access to. The NSA says the documents he took could cripple the agency’s mission and make it more difficult to fight terrorism.
Rick Ledgett: It would give them a road map of what we know, what we don’t know, and give them implicitly a way to protect their information from the U.S. intelligence communities’ view.
Keith: But to many, Snowden is a hero. He was even nominated for the top human rights award in Europe because he shined a spotlight on the NSA, revealing that the agency was monitoring cell phone and internet use of average Americans. Yesterday, a judge said the NSA’s collection of Americans’ data is likely a violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches. And many argue the NSA surveillance is an invasion of privacy, including eight big technology companies who have asked the U.S. government to limit its spying.
Mark Zuckerberg: It’s our government’s job to protect all of us, and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy, right? And companies. And I think that they did a bad job of balancing those things here.
Keith: Snowden also revealed the NSA was spying on other countries, like Mexico, Brazil, France and Germany. Now Germany and other nations are seeking to restrict how U.S. companies like Facebook and Google send data from abroad.
The White House is also examining an outside review of NSA activities. The report includes 40 recommendations to help the agency maintain public trust and reduce the risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified material.
Keith Kocinski, Channel One News.
Maggie: Snowden now lives in Russia. And if he returns to the U.S., he could be arrested.