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Edward Snowden's leaks more helpful than initially believed

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March 28, 2016

The leaks to the media from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about American worldwide surveillance have actually helped rather than hindered the United States, and the leaks haven't endangered any lives.

Larry Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the last Bush administration, said that he believed Snowden's assertions that he leaked out of concern for the U.S. breaking both domestic and international law.

"I think that Snowden has actually done the country a service. I wouldn't have had the courage, and maybe not even the intellectual capacity, to do it the way he did it," he told Salon magazine.

"There's a logic to what he has done that is impressive. He really has refrained from anything that was truly dangerous with regard to our security, regardless of what some people may have said to the contrary."

Wilkerson, who played a key role in gathering intelligence to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said that Snowden and the journalists working with him had been "circumspect" in what data they had released, and thinks that Snowden's decision to go public was driven by altruistic reasons, among others.

"You can be dangerous if you're that way, but you can also be helpful. And I think he's been more helpful than dangerous," added Wilkerson.

"I credit Snowden for having a great deal of courage-- that's a given, because he's ruined himself forever in the process," he said. "I don't think he has any future anymore. He has a future so long as he can continue to co-exist with all the restraints and pressures around him. But I'm not sure that's being long-lived. And I don't see him ever being accepted back in the U.S."

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