I know there are some people who honestly believe Edward Snowden to be a defender of free speech and liberty, but I've long held the view that although it was important for the American public to know that their government was loosely spying on them, the methodologies used didn't need to be fully disclosed. In short, tell the enemy how we're tracking them and they'll soon change tactics. Such is the case with ISIS/ISIL.
According to this article from WashingtonTimes.com:
My concern has long been that once these terrorist groups came to understand how they were being tracked, they'd change tactics. Seems ISIS/ISIL is doing just that. To be clear, I've never been a fan of the PATRIOT Act or any government surveillance program that violated our 5th Amendment rights. However, I fully understood that prior to and since 9/11 the enemy lived within blending among the people in everyday life waiting until he (or she) received the word to carry out their murderous assaults upon the American people. As such, if their means of communications were pre-paid cellphones and the Internet, IMO, it stood to reason to track them where their lines of communications reigned. To that, the NSA surveillance program tried to do just that while also protecting the rights of U.S. citizens. Granted, the program didn't always succeed in that regard and it was important to disclose that much, but disclosing the methods used to track the enemy was wrong.A former top official at the National Security Agency says the Islamic State terrorist group has “clearly” capitalized on the voluminous leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and is exploiting the top-secret disclosures to evade U.S. intelligence.
Bottom line: Islamic State killers are harder to find because they know how to avoid detection.
The top-secret spill has proven ready-made for the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIL or ISIS). It relies heavily on Internet channels to communicate internally and to spread propaganda.
Mr. Snowden “went way beyond disclosing things that bore on privacy concerns,” said Mr. Inglis, who retired in January. “‘Sources and methods’ is what we say inside the intelligence community — the means and methods we use to hold our adversaries at risk, and ISIL is clearly one of those.
“Having disclosed all of those methods, or at least some degree of those methods, it would be impossible to imagine that, as intelligent as they are in the use of technology, in the employment of communications for their own purposes, it’s impossible to imagine that they wouldn’t understand how they might be at risk to intelligence services around the world, not the least of which is the U.S. And they necessarily do what they think is in their best interest to defend themselves,” he said.
To me, the issue isn't how many terror attacks you can count on your fingers and toes that have been stopped using meta-data methodology. The issues was "what is the best way for our intelligence agencies to track the enemy from within to stop them from committing other terror attacks on the U.S. homeland". Snowden let the cat out of the bag. Despite his best intentions, he's given the enemy a stronger hand then they deserve.