An exclusive CBS interview with former CIA deputy director Michael Morell sheds more light on the seriousness of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s actions, telling correspondent John Miller the damage done is “historic.”
“It’s the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the U.S. intelligence committee,” Morell told Miller in a preview shown Friday on CBS This Morning.
Morell said the most serious disclosure was a copy of a secret document the CIA calls its “black budget.” The damage of leaking it was that enemies can focus their counter-intelligence efforts where the U.S. is being successful and can put less emphasis on locations where the U.S. isn’t as successful, Morell said.
“Kind of like handing over the playbook,” Miller said, to which Morell agreed.
Morell said the U.S. needed to assume any material Snowden had with him in Hong Kong and now in Russia has been compromised. He said Snowden’s actions have put Americans at risk, because terrorists learn from leaks.
“I do not believe he is a hero,” Morell said. “I think he has betrayed his country.”
More disclosures from Snowden showed the U.S. monitored phone calls from 35 world leaders, drawing outrage in particular from German president Angela Merkel. American officials are warning other governments that the Snowden leaks could reveal their intelligence operations, and Friday morning in USA Today, a White House official said the administration was reviewing its surveillance policies.