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Highest-Ranking U.S. Military Officer Says Snowden's Security Breach Will Cost Billions Highest-Ranking U.S. Military Officer Says Snowden's Security Breach W...

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Defense

Highest-Ranking U.S. Military Officer Says Snowden's Security Breach Will Cost Billions

Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey says it could take a task force two years to assess and address the leaks.

Military and intelligence officials are still figuring out what to do about the leaks by Edward Snowden.(Getty Images)

photo of Sara Sorcher
March 6, 2014

Edward Snowden is best known for exposing government surveillance, but "the vast majority" of the roughly 1.7 million documents Snowden took addressed top-secret military capabilities, operations, and tactics, according to the nation's highest-ranking military officer.

The cost of changing those tactics and coping with the security breach could total billions of dollars, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Defense Department officials, along with officials from other agencies, are still investigating the documents Snowden took and determining how to blunt the risks they pose to U.S. security, Dempsey said.

"The mitigation task force will need to function for about two years—that's the magnitude of this challenge," Dempsey said. "I suspect it could cost billions of dollars to overcome the loss of security that has been imposed on us."

 

Thornberry on Snowden

Dempsey's comments add to a chorus of congressional critics, such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who have decried the potential costs of reversing the security damage after Snowden's leaks. Concerned lawmakers have also suggested that Russia, where Snowden remains under temporary asylum, may have gained access to his document trove.

 

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