UNITED NATIONS — U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice dismissed claims that Edward Snowden’s highly classified leaks have weakened the Obama presidency and damaged U.S. foreign policy, insisting that the United States will remain “the most influential, powerful and important country in the world.”
Rice’s remarks were her only public ones on Snowden and came in an interview with The Associated Press as she prepared to leave the U.N. post and start her new job Monday as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.
She said it’s too soon to judge whether there will be any long-term serious repercussions from the intelligence leaks by the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Hong Kong and then Russia after seizing documents disclosing secret U.S. surveillance programs in the U.S. and overseas, which he has shared with The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.
“I don’t think the diplomatic consequences, at least as they are foreseeable now, are that significant,” she said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have called Snowden’s leaks a serious breach that damaged national security. Hagel said Thursday an assessment of the damage is being done now.
Read more at Official Wire. By Edith M. Lederer.