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WASHINGTON, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden took tens of thousands of documents, including those related to intelligence gathering programmes against such countries as Russia, Iran and China, The Washington Post reported on Friday, referring to representatives of the U.S. government.
According to the newspaper, U.S. officials have notified foreign intelligence services of a number of states that Snowden took materials that shed light on their secret cooperation with the United States. If these documents are published, the newspaper writes, intelligence operations that along with the United States involve other countries could be at risk.
Snowden, U.S. officials said, took tens of thousands of documents, some of which contain sensitive material about collection programmes against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China. Some refer to operations that in some cases involve countries not publicly allied with the United States. The process of informing officials in capital after capital about the risk of disclosure is delicate. In some cases, one part of the cooperating government may know about the collaboration while others — such as the foreign ministry — may not, the officials said. The documents, if disclosed, could compromise operations, officials said, according to the newspaper.
The office of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper declined to comment.
This week, the Obama administration had to give explanations to the governments of a number of countries on the activities of the U.S. National Security Agency, which is engaged in electronic intelligence. According to recent publications, U.S. intelligence agencies were spying on political leaders in Europe, listening to their phone conversations and intercepting correspondence on the Internet. Information on various NSA programmes was disclosed to the American and British media by former NSA employee Edward Snowden who received temporary asylum in Russia.