British ambassador: Snowden leaks would have helped Hitler

If Edward Snowden had been around during World War II, Adolf Hitler would have been able to score victories against the United Kingdom, according to the British ambassador to the U.S.

In remarks at The Ripon Society commemorating the U.S. and British alliance, Ambassador Peter Westmacott said leaks like Snowden's would have allowed the Nazis to overrun allied forces in the Battle of the Atlantic and gain the upper hand. Those comments are being released Wednesday.

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A critical component of the allies’ success, he said, was the successful cracking of German codes at the venerated Bletchley Park spy headquarters. That allowed British forces to intercept the Nazis’ plans and take out their U-boats.  

“Had Bletchley Park been the victim of an Edward Snowden whistleblowing — so-called — operation, the entire value of that intelligence operation keeping the United Kingdom in the war would have been lost,” Westmacott said.

“So there are moments ... when it is absolutely essential that intelligence operations in defense of our national security remain secret,” he added. “These things are important. It’s not frivolous and it is not hiding things.”

“It is actually necessary for our national security to ensure that our real secrets remain secret.”

Snowden’s leaks of an estimated 1.5 million documents have caused headaches on both sides of the Atlantic.

In addition to revealing secrets at the U.S.’s National Security Agency, he also revealed multiple secret operations at the Government Communications Headquarters, the NSA’s British counterpart. 

Snowden's supporters say the disclosures have exposed abuses at the NSA that might have violated the Constitution, but critics in the Obama administration maintain that the releases have exposed crucial American secrets.

As result of the disclosures, top NSA officials have said, terrorist groups have changed their operations to avoid detection by the U.S.