Ex-UK defense chief blasts Snowden, Greenwald in op-ed

The former head of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense is accusing former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald and other journalists of helping to empower terrorists by reporting on documents from National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden.

Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for his stories based on Snowden’s documents, and his “malicious associates” share a “virulent anti-Western, and particularly anti-American” point of view, Liam Fox said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on Tuesday. 

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“We have actually seen chatter among specific terrorist groups, at home and abroad, discussing how to avoid what they now perceive to be vulnerable communications methods and, consequently, how to select communications that they perceive not to be exploitable,” he added.

“No doubt these terrorist groups are extremely grateful to Messrs. Snowden and Greenwald and their accomplices for these useful tools in their war against our citizens, our armed forces and our way of life.”

The heated critique against both the former NSA contractor and journalists who published documents he took from the agency comes just a day after the Pulitzer Prize board praised Greenwald and other reporters at the Guardian for helping “to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

The award was seen as a show of support for Snowden’s defenders, who have sometimes accused the mainstream press of bias against him. 

Snowden said the honor was a “vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government.”

Greenwald recently left the Guardian to start a new outlet, the Intercept, along with filmmaker Laura Poitras, who also led reporting on the Snowden stories.

Fox, a conservative member of Parliament who served as secretary of state for defense from 2010 to 2011, retorted that Snowden “thinks of himself as a cyber-age guerrilla warrior, but in reality he is a self-publicizing narcissist.”

His comments echoed concern from many defenders of the NSA who have warned that the leaks have made it easier for terrorists and other bad actors to evade detection. 

In the op-ed, he said that the revelations might have “diminished” the ability to keep watch of Russian movements ahead of the country's action in Ukraine.

“If true, this would be the first practical demonstration of how Mr. Snowden and his acolytes had successfully damaged security to the benefit of Vladimir Putin’s regime," he wrote.

The op-ed was adapted from a speech Fox is scheduled to give at the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday.