TECH

Former CIA Director Believes Edward Snowden 'Contributed To The Rise Of ISIS'

18/11/2015 15:44 GMT | Updated 18/11/2015 16:59 GMT

"Does Edward Snowden have blood on his hands?" This was the question put to former CIA Director Michael Morell.

His answer was swift and certain. Speaking to US publication Politico, he said:

"To be fair, do I believe he contributed to the rise of ISIS? Yes. Would they have gotten there without the help he provided them? Probably.

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"Would they have been able to conduct this attack in Paris without him? Maybe. So the honest answer is I don’t know."

Morell avoided making a direct link between the Paris massacre on Friday night and Snowden's revelations, laying part of the blame with how the US media covered Government mass surveillance at the time.

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"The Snowden disclosures created this perception that people’s privacy was being put at significant risk.

"It wasn’t only the Snowden disclosures about [Section] 215 [of the PATRIOT Act, allowing for the mass collection of telephone metadata] that created that, it was the media’s handling of it.

"The media went to the darkest corner of the room, the CNNs and the FOXes etc. of the world, those people who have a 24/7 news cycle.

"In those early days, if you were watching CNN, they were saying the NSA is listening to your phone calls.

"It’s reading your emails. When you call your grandma in Arkansas, the NSA knows.

"All total bulls--t. They made the public more concerned about the privacy issue than the legitimate facts should have done."

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Morell is not the first to link Snowden to the deadly attack in Paris that has left at least 129 dead.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson said the whistleblower's "bean-spilling has taught some of the nastiest people on the planet how to avoid being caught."

On Sunday however, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first published Snowden's revelations about the NSA's mass surveillance, argued why the accusations were unfounded.

Writing on The Intercept, he stated:

"The implicit premise of this accusation is that The Terrorists didn’t know to avoid telephones or how to use effective encryption until Snowden came along and told them.

"Yet we’ve been warned for years and years before Snowden that The Terrorists are so diabolical and sophisticated that they engage in all sorts of complex techniques to evade electronic surveillance.

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Citing the attacks of 2002 in Bali, 2004 in Madrid, 2005 in London, 2008 in Mumbai, he wrote: "How did the multiple perpetrators of those well-coordinated attacks — all of which were carried out prior to Snowden’s June 2013 revelations — hide their communications from detection?"

In the UK, the Paris attacks have bought the 'Investigatory Powers Bill,' a revised version of the 'Snoopers Charter,' back to the fore.

While the policy is not expected to become law until 2017, many have already voiced fears over the legislation's power to strip away privacy.

Under the Bill, GCHQ, MI6 MI5 could have a legally sound basis for hacking mobiles and computers devices. It could also see messaging services such as WhatsApp, which uses end-to-end encryption, being banned if parent companies refuse to remove encryption.