There are many media reports available regarding classified intelligence leaks. One example is Edward Snowden’s unauthorized disclosure (UD) of classified information to the media. Snowden claims his conscience could no longer allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedoms, and basic liberties for Americans and others around the world (Greenwald, MacAskill, and Potras 2013). There is a range of supporters from a former United States (US) Senator, Foreign lawmakers to other various groups and US citizens that consider Snowden as a hero, or whistleblower. On the other hand, many see Snowden as a traitor (Ferran 2013, Miller 2013, Nelson 2013). As a result, germane to the Snowden case of UD of classified information is his standing.
One problem is that UD of classified information breaks the law. According to Title 18 of US code and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, disclosure of classified information is an illegal act (Cornell Law 2012). Regardless what his motivation was, Snowden broke the law. A second problem is these leaks damage national security. To be precise, UDs negatively affect the Intelligence Communities (IC) ability to fulfill its mission. As well, UDs aid our adversaries and damages foreign relations (Office of the Director of National Intelligence 2011). What is different about the Snowden case, compared to past leaks, is a debate concerning his status. In other words, several in America as well as around the world see Snowden as a hero or a whistleblower. Is Snowden a hero? Is Snowden a whistleblower?
Purpose and Plan
Improper disclosure of classified information is illegal and may cause up to exceptionally grave damage to America. This qualitative paper identifies and discusses implications of improperly disclosing classified information, with a focus on signals intelligence (SIGINT). Not only is UD of classified information illegal, it harms our countries national security. Moreover, this paper will use a narrative strategy of inquiry that will clarify the implications to national security caused by UD. Furthermore, this paper takes an advocacy viewpoint. Explicitly, due to the episodes knotted political agenda, the author offers recommendations for change to fix and prevent future leaks.
The organization of this paper begins with defining UD, covers the existing legal framework, and then categorizes harm caused by these leaks. Notwithstanding his reason, Snowden, like others who leaked classified information before him, broke the law and caused harm to our Nation. Last, recommendations will center on UD of classified information predominantly with respect to the media. The narrative review and recommendations draw mainly from open source news reports, with some foreign policy and national security journal articles, as well as corporate and US Government independent research findings. This paper’s aim is to fill existing gaps in recent media coverage; thus,...