Former CIA boss blames Paris on the traitor Edward Snowden

Politico Magazine reports:

Michael Morell, the former acting head of the CIA, says the Paris attacks have exposed how freely the Islamic State was able to operate in a chastened environment in which intelligence gathering was partly shut down after Edward Snowden?s exposure of National Security Agency surveillance in 2013. Now, Morell says, the need for greater security is on everyone?s mind?especially since the terrorist group has threatened an attack on the U.S. In his recently published book, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA?s Fight Against Terrorism From Al Qa?ida to ISIS, Morell accuses Snowden of aiding in the rise of the Islamic State. In an interview on Tuesday with Politico Magazine National Editor Michael Hirsh, Morell elaborates on the damage he believes the leaker has done.

Michael Hirsh: How did the Snowden revelations help the Islamic State, and did they somehow lead to the Paris attacks?

Michael Morell: First, ISIS went to school on how we were collecting intelligence on terrorist organizations by using telecommunications technologies. And when they learned that from the Snowden disclosures, they were able to adapt to it and essentially go silent ? And so, part of their rise was understanding what our capabilities were, adjusting to them so we couldn?t see them. No doubt in my mind. And the people who say otherwise are just trying to defend Edward Snowden.

Two?and much more damaging: The Snowden disclosures created this perception that people?s privacy was being put at significant risk. It wasn?t only the Snowden disclosures about [Section] 215 [of the PATRIOT Act, allowing for the mass collection of telephone metadata] that created that, it was the media?s handling of it. The media went to the darkest corner of the room, the CNNs and the FOXes etc. of the world, those people who have a 24/7 news cycle. In those early days, if you were watching CNN, they were saying the NSA is listening to your phone calls. It?s reading your emails. When you call your grandma in Arkansas, the NSA knows. All total bulls–t. They made the public more concerned about the privacy issue than the legitimate facts should have done. And so, the result of that was everything you?ve seen. The constraining of 215. The IT companies building encryption without keys. That is all, at the end of the day, back in Snowden?s lap, in my view.

As far as Paris goes, we don?t know for sure yet how these guys communicate among themselves and how they communicated back to the ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria, but I?m fairly confident we?re going to learn they used these encrypted communication applications that have commercial encryption and are extremely difficult for companies to break?and which the companies have made the decision not to produce a key for. Even if the government goes to them with a warrant, they can?t give them anything because they don?t have a key. These companies made these decisions about encryption when they were finding it very difficult to sell their products overseas because the Snowden disclosures created the impression that the U.S. government was inside this hardware and software produced by them. They needed to do something to deal with the perception.

Snowden, Assange and other traitors have blood on their hands.

Hirsh: But absent the Snowden disclosures, if all these methods had not been exposed, do you think that U.S. intelligence would have detected the plotting that led to the Paris attacks?

Morell: Don?t know. But it certainly would have given us a fighting chance.

Hirsh: Does Edward Snowden have blood on his hands?

Morell: To be fair, do I believe he contributed to the rise of ISIS? Yes. Would they have gotten there without the help he provided them? Probably. Would they have been able to conduct this attack in Paris without him? Maybe. So the honest answer is I don?t know.

He does have blood on his hands.

Hirsh: You say we need to ?severely degrade? ISIS in order to prevent an attack on the U.S. What do you mean by that?

Morell: I?d say two things. This strategy, this policy, is not achieving its aims. I don?t see how anyone could come to any other conclusion. Here?s the two things that have to happen:

You have to take away their safe haven. One of the lessons we?ve learned from the last 25 years of terrorism is that groups that have safe havens are able to develop external attack capabilities in a way that groups that don?t have safe havens are not. So we need to find a way to squeeze them significantly in their safe haven. Taking away territory that really matters to them is really, really important because it prevents them from focusing on external attacks.

The other thing we?ve learned from the last 20 years of counterterrorism is the significant value you get from removing leadership from the battlefield in degrading the organization. You have to have a military and intelligence approach to removing leadership that results in rapid frequent removals from the battlefield. It?s got to be one, two a week, not just one or two every three or four months.

In other words relentlessly, and in the words of the French president wage a pitiless war against these animals. You can only do so much with bombers and missiles. Eventually you have to prosecute the war on the ground.

The Poms learned by defeating the IRA that you just keep on killing the leadership until no one wants to step forward anymore.

There is no use being squeamish about this, it just has?to be done., before they do it to us.


– Politico Magazine