06/11/2013 08:44 am ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

Obama Administration Weighing Damage From NSA Disclosures

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Reuters) - The Obama administration has launched an internal review to assess damage to national security from Edward Snowden's public release of top secret details of National Security Agency eavesdropping programs, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Reuters.

The review is separate from an initial criminal leak investigation which has been opened by the Justice Department, the official said.

The administration's review will examine the extent of damage to national security programs from the unauthorized disclosures of details of NSA's collection of phone call and email data, the official said.

It will be coordinated by the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), a branch of the Director of National Intelligence's office, the official said.

A former U.S. official said that among the issues such a review would address is whether the leaks have led to losses of sources or methods and to the alienation of those who have cooperated. The review also probably will document intelligence generated by each program, the former official said.

Mark Zaid, a lawyer who has specialized in representing government employees under investigation, said the review also would likely look for chatter among intelligence targets to see if they have changed tactics due to the leaks.

Snowden provided information for published reports last week that revealed the NSA's broad monitoring of phone call and Internet data in one of the most significant security leaks in U.S. history.

The disclosures have some U.S. lawmakers calling for the extradition and prosecution of the ex-CIA employee even as supporters defend his actions and pledge support. (Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel; Editing by Vicki Allen)



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