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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top U.S. Spy Claims ‘Terrorists Are Going to School’ on Snowden Leaks -- By David Kravets, Wired, Threat Level

Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty ImagesA clearly frustrated U.S. intelligence chief complained today that America’s adversaries are changing the way they communicate electronically in the wake of the leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“We’re beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of adversaries: particularly terrorists. A disturbing trend, which I anticipate will continue,” claimed (.pdf) James Clapper, director of national intelligence, in remarks prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Terrorists and other adversaries of this country are going to school on U.S. intelligence sources, methods, and tradecraft,” Clapper said. “And the insights they’re gaining are making our job in the intelligence community much, much harder. And this includes putting the lives of members or assets of the intelligence community at risk, as well as those of our armed forces, diplomats, and our citizens.”

Clapper is not the most credible source on Snowden and the NSA leaks. Snowden’s very first leak last June had the side-effect of revealing that Clapper had mislead the public and Congress about NSA spying.

During a March hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) had asked Clapper whether the NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions of Americans?”

Clapper responded: “No, sir.”

Three months later, Snowden revealed that the NSA had been collecting telephone metadata on millions of Americans since at least 2006.

And as WIRED noted today, Clapper has been known to exaggerate national security threats before. He told a federal judge last year that a lawsuit brought by a Stanford University scholar had to be dismissed, or national security would suffer.

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