The hunt for the Islamic State killers of British and American hostages has been hampered by Edward Snowden’s leaks about western spycraft according to claims reported in The Times on September 6.
The Times report says intelligence officials, MPs and academics said revelations about the ability of GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, and America’s National Security Agency to intercept emails, text messages and phone calls has helped members of the militant group evade capture.
“The Snowden effect has been a very, very severe one,” Stephen Phipson, a director at Britain’s Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), told a London security conference.
“Our adversaries, the terrorists out there, now have full sight of the sorts of tools and range of techniques that are being used by government,” Phipson said. “I can tell you data shows a substantial reduction in the use of those methods of communication as a result of the Snowden leaks.”
Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, caused international uproar last June when he disclosed details of the extent of surveillance and electronic intelligence gathering by his former employers and by the British equivalent GCHQ to the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
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