Official: Snowden did not get 'crown jewels'
July 22nd, 2013
04:37 PM ET

Official: Snowden did not get 'crown jewels'

By Barbara Starr

U.S. intelligence now believes Edward Snowden did not gain access to the "crown jewels" of National Security Agency programs that secretly intercept and monitor conversations around the world, CNN has learned.

The Obama administration is reviewing what the admitted leaker of classified information actually got his hands on and what damage he may have caused.

The ongoing damage assessment indicates he did not gain access to what is called ECI or "extremely compartmentalized information," according to a U.S. official familiar with the review.

Snowden fled to Moscow after his leaks in June and has been stranded at the Moscow airport awaiting a response to his request for temporary asylum. He faces espionage charges in the United States.
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July 19th, 2013
09:02 AM ET

Former CIA chief speaks out on Snowden

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden spoke with CNN's 'New Day' and discusses how Edward Snowden's leaks have changed the way terrorists operate and are making them harder to catch. Hayden spoke from Aspen, Colorado where he is attending teh Aspen Security Forum.

As Obama readies to visit Russia for G-20 summit, will he bypass Moscow?
July 19th, 2013
12:13 AM ET

As Obama readies to visit Russia for G-20 summit, will he bypass Moscow?

Edward Snowden’s long layover may be over if Russia grants him temporary asylum. But will it?

The country has the G-20 summit coming up. And while the White House has said President Barack Obama will attend the gathering in St. Petersburg, it isn’t saying whether he’ll stop in Moscow.

That’s not the kind of embarrassment President Vladimir Putin wants to risk over the American intelligence leaker.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Putin • Russia
July 18th, 2013
10:59 PM ET

NSA chief strongly defends govt. surveillance programs, but suggests he's open to changes

By Dan Merica and Elise Labott

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

The director of the National Security Agency on Thursday offered a full-throated defense of a domestic monitoring program that has been at the center of government leaks, while also tacitly supporting an idea to dramatically change the controversial snooping.

In a public interview at the Aspen Security Forum, NSA Director Keith Alexander addressed the leaks carried out by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents to the media.

At the heart of the Snowden leaks is a program that collects information about all calls in the United States. The information collected, called metadata, includes duration, time of the call and the numbers that are party to the call, all of which are stored in a government database.

But what if private phone companies - instead of the government - ran the database?

"You could technically do that," Alexander said. "Now, it creates some operational problems that we would have to work our way through … But that may be the best solution."

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July 18th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Terrorism chief worried about European reaction to Snowden leaks

By Dan Merica

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

The United States' antiterrorism chief is worried about the leaks that former government contractor Edward Snowden has carried out - particularly, he said Thursday, because our European allies are watching and reacting.

In a panel at the Aspen Security Forum, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that while "it remains to be seen" how Snowden's leaks have affected relationships with U.S. allies, he is growing concerned.

"I an worried about it when I see what I read, particularly with respect to Europe and our European allies," he said. "How they may be reacting to this. But I think it just remains to be seen on that."

Olsen, who heads the center that is responsible for analyzing all terror threats, was noticeably measured in his answer.

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Filed under: Aspen Security Forum • Edward Snowden • Europe • France • NSA • Terrorism
July 18th, 2013
06:02 PM ET

ACLU, government reps debate whether Snowden is public servant or traitor

By Dan Merica and Elise Labott

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories and opinion pieces surrounding the Aspen Security Forum currently taking place in Aspen, Colorado. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event, which is taking place from July 17 to 20 in Aspen, Colorado.

Was Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor?

That is the question the media, the public and elected officials have debated ever since Snowden released classified information about the United States' efforts to monitor its own citizens.

But on Thursday, the debate got more interesting when representatives from the National Security Agency - the organization Snowden leaked information about - the Pentagon and the American Civil Liberties Union informally debated the issue in public.

"I think he did this country a service," Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU said regarding Snowden. "I have not said that publicly until this point. I think he did this country a service by starting a debate that was anemic, that was left to government officials where people did not understand fully what was happening."

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Snowden likely to remain out of U.S. reach
July 17th, 2013
01:38 PM ET

Snowden likely to remain out of U.S. reach

By Carol Cratty

Edward Snowden appears likely to stay out of reach of U.S. officials even if the Russian government gives the self-avowed intelligence leaker papers to leave.

Snowden has been holed up in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for weeks, having flown there from Hong Kong in June after admittedly detailing top-secret National Security Agency electronic surveillance programs to media outlets.

He has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, and his lawyer said on Wednesday that he may be able to leave the airport within days.

If that happens, it’s not clear if Russia will meet his request. Snowden has said he wants to stay while awaiting passage to Latin America.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • NSA • Russia
Former official sees "challenge" ahead pursuing terrorists
Jeh Johnson, former Pentagon General Counsel
July 11th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Former official sees "challenge" ahead pursuing terrorists

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of stories and opinion pieces previewing the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 17-20 in Aspen, Colorado.  Follow the event on Twitter under @aspeninstitute and @natlsecuritycnn  #AspenSecurity.

By Larry Shaughnessy

Jeh Johnson recently stepped down as the Pentagon’s top attorney. Now in private practice as a partner at PaulWeiss law firm in Washington, Johnson recently spoke to CNN about some of the issues he faced overseeing the Defense Department’s 10,000 uniformed and civilian lawyers, issues he may be asked about when he speaks at the Aspen Security Forum.

CNN: What is the biggest legal hurdle the Defense Department and Intelligence community face?

Johnson: “I would say that the biggest legal challenge that DoD and the intelligence community face right now is to settle upon a new legal architecture for, what I perceive to be, the next phase of our counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda and other terrorism efforts.

“We’ve been through 12 years of what some people would characterize as conventional armed conflict. And most intelligence experts would agree that core al Qaeda has been decimated and we’re at an inflection point now. And it is most likely the case that the traditional approach to armed conflict is no longer the best approach and so we need, in my view, to develop a legal architecture and a legal strategy that is a whole of government approach that deals with the new terrorist threats in forms that are not necessarily al Qaeda and it’s affiliates.”
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No end in sight for NSA leak fallout
July 10th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

No end in sight for NSA leak fallout

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories and opinion pieces previewing the upcoming Aspen Security Forum. Security Clearance is a media sponsor of the event which is taking place from July 17-20 in Aspen, Colorado.  Follow the event on Twitter under @aspeninstitute and @natlsecuritycnn  #AspenSecurity.

By Jamie Crawford

Edward Snowden's fate and the possible damage he has done to U.S. relations with close allies still commands attention of the Obama administration.

The situation shows the degree to which "the United States and Europe define privacy in different ways," former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told CNN’s Security Clearance.

That tension was apparent following revelations from Snowden, the admitted leaker of national security documents, that the United States had been using electronic intercepts to monitor various European government offices.

While the threat of international terrorism has decreased over the past decade because of "significant" cooperation between the United States and Europe, Crowley said he is "confident" the situation will eventually "work its way through the political situation on both sides of the Atlantic."
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Filed under: Aspen Security Forum • China • Edward Snowden • Medvedev • North Korea • NSA • Putin • Russia • Syria • Terrorism
July 2nd, 2013
02:51 PM ET

Snowden's asylum options dwindle

By Michael Pearson, Matt Smith and Jethro Mullen

Edward Snowden's hopes of finding asylum from U.S. prosecution on espionage charges appeared to dim Tuesday as country after country denied his request or said he would have to find a way to travel to their territory to apply.

While Bolivia and Venezuela seemed supportive, 11 of the 21 countries he's applied to, including Ecuador and Iceland, have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three have denied the request outright - Brazil, India and Poland.

Snowden had already withdrawn his asylum request with Russian authorities after President Vladimir Putin said he would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners" if he wanted to stay in the country.

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