WASHINGTON – Two Western diplomats say U.S. officials have briefed them on documents obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that might expose the intelligence operations of their respective countries and their level of cooperation with the U.S.
Word of the briefings by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence comes amid questions swirling around overseas surveillance by the National Security Agency, which has angered allies on two continents and caused concern domestically over the scope of the intelligence-gathering.
The two Western diplomats said officials from ODNI have continued to brief them regularly on what documents the director of national intelligence believes Snowden obtained.
The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the intelligence briefings publicly.
The Washington Post, which first reported on the matter Thursday evening, said some of the documents Snowden took contain sensitive material about collection programs 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 Post said the process of informing officials about the risk of disclosure is delicate because in some cases, one part of the cooperating government may know about the collaboration, but others may not.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. takes the concerns of the international community seriously "and has been regularly consulting with affected partners." She declined to comment on diplomatic discussions.