US: Extent of Snowden leaks unknown

The NSA says it may never know the extent of Edward Snowden�™s leaks.

Senior US government officials say American intelligence community may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, has since June revealed thousands of documents indicating the NSA is collecting massive data on telephone and Internet communications of Americans and foreign nationals in the US as well as political leaders across the world.

However, American investigation has not yet found the extent of the data breach because the NSA facility in Hawaii where the whistleblower worked �” unlike other NSA facilities �” was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the super spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time, The New York Time reported on Saturday.

�œThey�™ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don�™t know all of what he took,” a senior administration official said. �œI know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”

Snowden�™s disclosures about the US spying programs set off a national debate about the expansion of the NSA�™s powers to spy both at home and abroad.

The scandal has even left the White House trying frantically to fix relations with allies after Snowden�™s revelations about American eavesdropping on foreign leaders.

The NY Times said a presidential advisory committee examined the agency�™s operations and submitted a report to President Barack Obama on Friday. But the report will not be made public until next month, the newspaper added.

In October, Snowden told the NY Times he had given all of the documents he downloaded to journalists and kept no additional copies. But a senior NSA official has recently said he believes Snowden still has access to documents not yet disclosed.

Snowden has been indicted by the US Justice Department on charges of espionage and stealing government property. He is now living in Russia under a one-year asylum.


Source: Press TV