Did NSA leaks help al Qaeda?

Obama administration officials and congressional lawmakers over the past two weeks have condemned Edward Snowden for admittedly leaking classified information on national security surveillance programs.

Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke of “changes we can already see being made by the folks who wish to do us harm, and our allies harm.”

He added the disclosures of surveillance programs may also “make it harder to track bad guys trying to harm U.S. citizens in the United States.”

FBI Director Robert Mueller last week testified “these disclosures have caused significant harm to our nation and to our safety.”

How should these claims be weighed?

There is little doubt the leaks were damaging to some degree. It is axiomatic that disclosures on the scope of NSA surveillance can be helpful to terrorist groups

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