Albright says Snowden leaks 'hurt us very badly'
October 24th, 2013
01:27 PM ET
9 months ago

Albright says Snowden leaks 'hurt us very badly'

(CNN) - Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday the revelation that the U.S. National Security Agency spies on foreign government officials should come as no surprise.

But, she added, Edward Snowden’s leak of details on the controversial spying program has been “very, very damaging” to US interests.

“What [Snowden] has done is a criminal act and it has hurt us very, very badly,” Albright said Thursday at a forum sponsored by the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.

Albright stressed that Snowden’s leaks have made life particularly difficult for the current Secretary of State, John Kerry.

“All of a sudden [Kerry is] confronted with something. He may not even know the particular thing that has just come out, and then all of a sudden it hits,” Albright said, explaining that the breach in trust is particularly harmful during private negotiations that are crucial to reaching agreements with foreign governments.

Albright defended the U.S. government’s actions, arguing that policymakers were trying to strike an appropriate balance in the post-9/11 world.

“Countries spy on each other,” Albright said. She recounted a time at the United Nations when a French ambassador confronted her about private remarks she had made.

“They had an intercept. It isn’t exactly as if this is new,” Albright said.


Filed under: Madeleine Albright • NSA
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Peace

    I get difficulties to understand how can Snowden betray his country this way. And still some call this nut a HERO!

    October 24, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. just saying

    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.

    October 24, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. smith

    Liberals crying about snowden but they cheered manning. I guess for liberals its about what you leaked. Btw, goper`s do the same thing. There is alot of double standards these days.

    October 24, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. michael anderson

    What a narrow and self serving view.
    I do not agree that large scale spying on everyone
    serves the 'national interest' of the USA.
    It actually undermines the value of the most important political
    and human values: Liberty & Justice for all.
    It also sets a stage for oppression and totalitarianism.
    Ms. Albright you need to broaden your perspective.
    m. anderson
    political scientist

    October 24, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    the Obama regime should have sent the cia or the seal team 6 after that guy – no matter how long it took, they should have got him, gave him what dick cheney calls: "enhanced interrogation techniques"

    October 24, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Lisa P.

    just saying

    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    October 24, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm
    ---------------------------–

    Do you have something to hide? Not that it really matters - Facebook and Google have been selling your secrets for years now. Strange that people get so upset when the government does the same things to protect us that commercial entities do far more frequently and intrusively in order to trick us into buying their useless crap. "Opt out" is a fairy tale.

    October 24, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Jack

    YOU hurt us badly. YOUR illegal programs.

    October 24, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    I've got nothing to hide. Spy away.

    October 24, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    Yeah. The world came to an end because some guy told a newspaper stuff everyone knows anyway.

    Pfffffffffft.

    I'm reminded how much I don't miss this particular Clintonian imperialist.

    October 24, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Kendo

    You think our government wouldn't be screaming bloody murder if the shoe was on the other foot?

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Don't ask for whom the bell tolls.

    October 24, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Javier

    What a hypocritical view. Im sure if the US found that other countries were spying us, they would not be like. We understand spying is necessary so just carry on. The so called americans that say snowden is a traitor are the worst kind. Why would telling the truth be considered treason. When the people we are spying are not only enemies but also allies. Patriotism and national security try to undermine the importance of transparency and honesty. If we dont like something being done to us then the rule of thumb says; dont do it to others. Please people come to your senses. It is not right to spy under any circumstances.

    October 24, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    I've got nothing to hide except that fact that I have been trying to respond to Dominican mama for better part of half the morning.

    As for Snowden. Yeah. He did wrong. Selling government secrets doesn't make him a hero in my book.

    October 24, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Durundal

    He could have been a watchdog and a hero if he flagged the non-damaging but important portions to let the american people know what is going on behind closed doors. Instead he went the full on espionage route and became nothing more than a traitor running around with US security and selling its secrets for life,capital, and publicity. I hope one day this ego-maniacal traitor will have to face the consequences of his actions

    October 24, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Don't Worry, Be Happy

    Wake up People!
    I've got nothing to hide. Spy away.
    -–

    Hmmm.... liberals weren't saying this when there was a Republican in the White House. What hypocrites. No core beliefs. Just rabid, politically motivated positions.

    October 24, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. just saying

    Lisa P.
    just saying
    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    ---------–
    Do you have something to hide?
    --–

    they asked this very same question in communist china, north korea and the old soviet union. i guess that is where the left wants to take us all.

    October 24, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    just saying

    Lisa P.
    just saying
    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    ---–
    Do you have something to hide?
    ––

    they asked this very same question in communist china, north korea and the old soviet union. i guess that is where the left wants to take us all.
    -------------------------
    Benghazi hearings – "They're hiding something."
    IRS hearings – "They're hiding something."
    Associated Press hearings – – "They're hiding something."
    Holder hearings – "They're hiding something."
    Fast and Furious hearings – "They're hiding something."

    And on and on. People who live in glass houses shouldnt' throw stones.

    October 24, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. RIchard Long

    "Albright says Snowden leaks 'hurt us very badly'" – CNN

    The relentless efforts Obama has made to establish his spying systems in place 'hurt us very badly'"!

    October 24, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Lisa P.

    just saying

    Lisa P.
    just saying
    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    ---–
    Do you have something to hide?
    ––

    they asked this very same question in communist china, north korea and the old soviet union. i guess that is where the left wants to take us all.
    October 24, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm
    ----------------------------------

    They also said it on these boards and elsewhere when the USA PATRIOT Act was proposed. And of course by "they" at that time I mean conservatives. Funny the way that works, isn't it?

    And meanwhile Google and Facebook know more about you than your own mother. In fact, they don't just know it, they own it. And sell it. But apparently that's not a problem because $$$ justify anything.

    October 24, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    Actually Don't worry be happy, I said the same thing then.

    October 24, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -Don't Worry, Be Happy

    Wake up People!
    I've got nothing to hide. Spy away.
    -–

    Hmmm.... liberals weren't saying this when there was a Republican in the White House. What hypocrites. No core beliefs. Just rabid, politically motivated positions.
    ****************************************
    Please. If there is one thing the GOP has demonstrated over the last 5 years is its absence of morals, and its embracing of selfishness and reflexive actions to fill the void. Democrats were saying those things for years, even as the GOP charged anyone who disagreed with them as aiding Al-Queda. Now they turn their fire on each other with those idiotic comments.

    October 24, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. What's in that tea anyway?

    @RIchard Long

    "Albright says Snowden leaks 'hurt us very badly'" – CNN

    The relentless efforts Obama has made to establish his spying systems in place 'hurt us very badly'"!

    ------–

    I for one resent the fact we are spying on such a geniuses like you .....I certainly hope we aren't wasting $$'s on that. ....Not sure what we get out of spying on the hateful, irrational, stupid party (Bobby Jindahls words) Tea Baggers. ....We already know you are economic terrorists, but we'll vote those idiots out of office during the next cycle. But thanks for the reminder....Now carry on!

    October 24, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    Lisa P.
    just saying
    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    ---–
    Do you have something to hide?
    ––

    they asked this very same question in communist china, north korea and the old soviet union. i guess that is where the left wants to take us all.
    *************
    GThey also asked it in Nazi Hermany, which is where the Tea party wants to take us: that, or a Latin American oligarchy like Chile. Do you have a poster of Pinochet in your bedroom?

    October 24, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Name Uche Agonsi

    Madeleine Albright should tell us something we dont know.

    October 24, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    RIchard Long

    "Albright says Snowden leaks 'hurt us very badly'" – CNN

    The relentless efforts Obama has made to establish his spying systems in place 'hurt us very badly'"!
    -------------------
    Actually, the NSA was started under the Bush administration. The same man was in charge of NSA from its' inception until just very recently, when he stepped down a month or so ago. I'm not blaming the Bush administration, but most of these policies and practices were established under Pres. Bush.

    The NSA is supposoed to report to, and answer to, the Congress about all of its' activities. Apparently, some practices have been long withheld as a "need to know" topic. Sometimes that withholdilng is done to protect the higher ups, completely without their knowledge or complicity. If the Congress didn't know about some practices, it is a safe bet that other branches of gorvenment were kept out of the loop, too.

    October 24, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Lisa P.

    Rudy NYC

    just saying

    Lisa P.
    just saying
    and what was especially damaging were the lies the obama administration told to the american people concerning the extent to which we are all being spied on by our government. most transparent administration in history? next joke. the lives of the american people are what has become the most transparent thing.
    -–
    Do you have something to hide?
    ––

    they asked this very same question in communist china, north korea and the old soviet union. i guess that is where the left wants to take us all.
    ---------
    Benghazi hearings – "They're hiding something."
    IRS hearings – "They're hiding something."
    Associated Press hearings – – "They're hiding something."
    Holder hearings – "They're hiding something."
    Fast and Furious hearings – "They're hiding something."

    And on and on. People who live in glass houses shouldnt' throw stones.
    October 24, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm
    ----------------------------

    Hey, on another thread on this very day just saying was demanding "a full disclosure of all the demorcat senators and their healthcare plans," because clearly when you are a Republican attack dog politicians from the opposing party have no privacy rights, hence it isn't spying, hence you can loudly denounce anyone else's spying (especially if they're liberals!) at your leisure. Makes perfect sense.

    October 24, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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