© AFP 2016/ Frederick Florin
Jack Goldsmith, Hoover Institution: The Snowden Cure
America and its intelligence establishment have recovered from Edward Snowden’s disclosures—and are better off for them
Three years ago, the Guardian published the first story based on the huge archive of documents Edward Snowden stole from the National Security Agency while working as an NSA contractor.
Then–attorney general Eric Holder’s Justice Department quickly charged Snowden with felonies for theft of government property and mishandling classified information.
This May, however, Holder praised Snowden. “I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder said.
This seems like an improbable claim. Snowden compromised scores of surveillance techniques, representing billions of dollars of investments over many years. U.S. firms that secretly cooperated with government intelligence agencies stopped doing so to the extent they could, and public defiance became the business-compelled norm.
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WNU Editor: It is still too early to say if Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have made the NSA and other U.S. intelligence institutions better at their job .... but it is true that the debate on his impact has changed.