During a Congressional Hearing on Wednesday, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence requested Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor, to return a massive trove of classified documents, reports the Washington Post.
Clapper spoke before a Senate panel, and outlined an array of dangers to American interests including a rise in cyber threats and the emergence of Syria as a magnet for Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda.
In his opening remarks, Clapper gave a stern criticism of Snowden in which he described the former contractor for the National Security Agency as a hypocrite who has severely undermined U.S. security.
Clapper proceeded to cite a list of areas endangered by Snowden’s actions. Snowden has caused allies to curtail cooperation with the United States, enabled terrorist groups to alter the ways they communicate, and put lives of U.S. intelligence operatives at risk.
Since Snowden proclaimed that he has accomplished his mission, Clapper said. ‘If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security.’
In reference to the unnamed accomplices, a spokesman said Clapper was ‘referring to anyone who is assisting Edward Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.’
At one point, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) decried what he described as a ‘culture of misinformation’ among U.S. intelligence officials, since Clapper had testified last year that there wasn’t secret surveillance on citizens.
The 2014 world-wide threat assessment report that was delivered to the Senate committee on Wednesday warned that political turmoil in the Middle East was accelerating the atomization of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, with offshoots gaining strength in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Egypt.
Questions regarding spying upon U.S. citizens within the Unites States met with assurance that the CIA is not doing this action. CIA director Brennan stated in a carefully worded answer, ‘I can assure the committee that the CIA follows the letter and the spirit of the law in terms of what CIA’s authorities are.’
FBI Director James Comey acknowledged for the first time publicly that the bureau does not need a warrant to obtain Americans’ cell site location information from carriers in intelligence investigations.
Comey said he understood privacy concerns about the program, but said it helps the bureau assess whether there is a broader terrorist cell or network in the United States in the aftermath of an attack like the bombing of the Boston Marathon. ‘It allows us to do in minutes what would otherwise take us in hours,’ Comey said.
In a separate development involving the NSA, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will file a class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency ‘hopefully within the next week,’ he said on Tuesday prior to the State of the Union address.
Sen. Paul also gave a preview to 2016 campaign issues when he cited that Hilary Clinton was a proponent of the surveillance.
‘Has she said anything about privacy? She's been a big proponent of the surveillance state and the NSA,’ stated Paul.
As an indication of the Republican Party position for 2016, The Republican National Committee approved a resolution last week with near-unanimous support condemning the agency's surveillance practices.
Please, view articles listed below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article with James Clapper before the Senate Committee.