Former CIA director Michael Hayden said other countries will no longer have confidence in the United States after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US government’s global surveillance programs.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Hayden said other intelligence services around the world will no longer “have confidence in the United States that we’re actually going to be able to keep secrets that we’re actually going to be able to act discreetly.”
“This is going to have an effect for a long time,” General Hayden added.
He also criticized the National Security Agency’s leaker for sparking a debate about surveillance that came “at a tremendously high price.”
“American firms doing nothing but obeying American law to protect the United States are now going to be punished economically internationally for their participation, and that’s terribly unfair,” Hayden said.
In an op-ed published by CNN on Friday, Hayden also called Snowden “the most costly leaker of American secrets in the history of the Republic.”
“Snowden fled to China with several computers’ worth of data from NSANET, one of the most highly classified and sensitive networks in American intelligence. The damage is potentially so great that NSA has taken one of its most respected senior operations officers off mission tasks to lead the damage assessment effort,” Hayden wrote.
Defense officials said the NSA is implementing new security measures because of Snowden’s disclosures.
According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, the agency had implemented a “two-man rule,” under which any system administrator like Snowden could only access or move key information with another administrator present.
Last month, Snowden revealed that the NSA was gathering millions of US phone records and intercepting some US Internet traffic.
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