New York Daily News

Get Snowden


As the United States scrambles, and thus far fails, to bring confessed criminal leaker Edward Snowden to justice, a new report reveals just how much damage his disclosure­s about classified National Security Agency surveillan­ce programs have done. Increasing­ly a man without a country, Snowden has refuge for the moment in the internatio­nal transit area of a Moscow airport. Russian President Vladimir Putin professes not to want Snowden while giving the back of his hand to President Obama’s request for extraditio­n.

Meantime, the place Snowden initially planned as his destinatio­n, Ecuador, appeared to get cold feet. Its foreign minister signaled that the country may take months to decide whether to grant him admission.

Take your sweet time, please, because Snowden belongs nowhere but in prison.

His defenders insist that the programs he exposed are doing very real harm to the privacy and individual rights of millions of Americans. On this, they have no evidence whatsoever. They also insist that Snowden’s disclosure­s would in no way advantage America’s enemies. How cavalierly wrong they are?

First, the NSA and FBI reported that Internet and telephone metadata surveillan­ce had helped identify and eventually disrupt more than 50 plots. Then Wednesday came word that Al Qaeda and other terrorists are franticall­y adapting their communicat­ions to avoid detection.

According to The Associated Press, two U.S. intelligen­ce officials say “members of virtually every terrorist group, including core Al Qaeda, are attempting to change how they communicat­e based on what they are reading in the media, to hide from U.S. surveillan­ce.”

A former intelligen­ce officer, now a fellow at the University of Virginia, M.E. (Spike) Bowman, put it this way: “It’s frustratin­g. You have to start all over again to track the target.”

This will not trouble the “free Snowden” crowd, so confident in their conviction that the troves of inside informatio­n their self-righteous crusader revealed could not possibly assist those who would do America harm.

But some things are classified for a reason. Like sophistica­ted tactics used to surreptiti­ously uncover terrorist plots in motion. Blithely expose them, and there are consequenc­es.

Potentiall­y deadly ones for innocent civilians. And a life ruined for Edward Snowden, not that anyone should care.

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