Much of the classified data smuggled out of the United States last year by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has likely been obtained by Russian intelligence officials, US lawmakers warned.
“Ninety-five percent of the information he took, by the way, was related to military, both tactical and strategic information that we now believe is in the hands of the Russians,” congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee said.
“A lot of that information benefits the Russians. There’s also information in there we believe benefits the Chinese military as well.”
Rogers cited a confidential Pentagon report that assessed the data breach by Snowden.
He said the report determined that “some or all” of some 1.7 million documents was in the hands of Russian intelligence agencies.
Snowden, wanted on espionage charges in the US, has been given asylum in Russia.
Rogers said there was no longer a question of whether Snowden was under the influence of Russian intelligence services.
The committee’s top Democrat, Charles “Dutch” Ruppersberger, agreed with the theory that Russian agents were now sifting through an extraordinary data stream thanks to Snowden.
“I can’t say that I have seen Snowden give this information, but he’s there. I know the Russians,” Ruppersberger said.
“I’m sure the Russians have gotten all of this information.”
Snowden told The New York Times in October that he left all the documents with reporters he met in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow.
Brazil’s lower chamber of Congress approved groundbreaking legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting the privacy of its users in the wake of US spying revelations.
To ensure passage of the bill, the government had to drop a contentious provision that would have forced global internet companies to store data on Brazilian servers inside the country. Instead, the bill says companies such as Google and Facebook are subject to Brazilian laws and courts in cases involving information on Brazilians, even if the data is stored on servers abroad.
Additional reporting by Reuters