Don’t listen to Edward Snowden’s supporters – his leaks have been a gift to terrorists
Originally published in The Independent
So this is the house that Edward Snowden built. The introduction of the Freedom Act last week has now reined in the NSA’s powers, particularly regarding the collection of telephony metadata. As part of this, phone records are now in the hands of private companies, rather than the state. This puts the US in the same situation as the UK and, in reality, senior figures in the US intelligence community are relaxed about this, providing the NSA can access them in a speedy manner.
These reforms that have taken place under the Freedom Act are directly attributable to Snowden’s theft of classified documents two years ago and subsequent distribution to journalists. To find out just how high the cost of this has been, I spoke to a range of senior officials in both the US and UK to try and get an idea of the national security impact of Snowden’s disclosures.
Robin Simcox is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, where he specialises in al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda inspired terrorism.
He is the co-author of both editions of 'Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections' and several other reports broadly focussed on national security, terrorism and al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliated movements across the world. Simcox has written for the likes of the Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Guardian, Weekly Standard, Spectator, Huffington Post and Daily Telegraph and regularly appears across a broad variety of media outlets, including the BBC, Fox News, Sky News, Channel 4 and al-Jazeera. He has spoken on a variety of platforms, including the British Parliament, US Special Operations Command and the European Parliament.
The Henry Jackson Society is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales under company number 07465741 and a charity registered in England and Wales under registered charity number 1140489.