Majority: Snowden leaks hurt national security

A majority of people in the United States says Edward Snowden's leaks damaged U.S. national security.

According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Thursday, 60 percent say Snowden's leaks harmed security.

ADVERTISEMENT
That's a huge bump from a July poll that found less than half of the public said his leaks were damaging.

Since then, Snowden has provided journalists around the world with documents showing the National Security Agency spied on foreign citizens’ phone calls and leaders of 35 nations. 

More than half of those polled, 55 percent, say Snowden did the wrong thing in revealing the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance programs, with 37 percent saying he did the right thing, the poll found. He began disclosing them in June.

Snowden has leaked as many as 200,000 classified U.S. documents to the media this year, according to NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander. He made the comments after a speech last month, which were revealed last week after Reuters obtained a copy of the event’s transcript.

The former NSA contractor faces espionage charges in the U.S., and has been pushing for them to be dropped. Snowden has been living in Russia since August after its government granted him temporary asylum.

Fifty-two percent of people, the poll shows, say they support the charges brought against Snowden, and 38 percent say they oppose them.   

The poll also says 53 percent disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the NSA’s surveillance activities. This comes the same week as a CBS News poll, which shows the president’s overall approval rating has reached the lowest of his presidency.

Obama has ordered for a review of the NSA’s programs, and has reassured U.S. allies his administration is evaluating its activities abroad.