By Ryan Gorman
PUBLISHED: 20:28 EST, 27 October 2013 | UPDATED: 20:28 EST, 27 October 2013
The former deputy director of the CIA blasted Edward Snowden during an interview aired Sunday night – calling him a traitor and saying his actions have put Americans at greater risk.
Michael Morell, formely the number two spy at the agency, called Mr Snowden’s actions the most serious leak of intelligence in US history – actions that have done far greater harm than good.
His comments echo similar remarks made earlier this month by the head of British intelligence agency MI5.
He's a traitor: Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell blasted Edward Snowden in a 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday night
‘I do not believe he is a whistle blower,’ Mr Morell told 60 Minutes. ‘I do not believe he is a hero, I believe he has betrayed his country.’
Sharing an opinion held by many U.S. officials, the ex-spook claimed the man revered by many is a reckless traitor who has crippled the States’ intelligence gathering.
‘I think this is the most serious leak – the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the US intelligence community,’ Mr Morell continued.
Saying both the amount and type of information revealed by the spy secret leaker is equally damning, Mr Morell bemoaned the disclosure of the CIA budget.
The ‘black book,’ as it is referred to, details the agency’s spending across all activites.
He did more harm than good: Mr Morell contends the Guardian's Snowden series put Americans' lives in danger
‘[Enemies] could focus their counterintelligence efforts on those places where we’re being successful, and not worry as much about those places where we’re not being as successful,’ Mr Morell lamented.
When 60 Minutes correspondent John Miller suggested it was like giving a playbook to the other team, the former Presidential intelligence briefer nodded in agreement.
If that sentiment sounds familiar, that’s because it is. MI5 chief Andrew Parker earlier this month called the Guardian’s series of collaborations with Mr Snowden a ‘gift’ to terrorists.
‘It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques. Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists,’ Mr Parker said in an Oct 9 speech.
‘Unfashionable as it might seem, that is why we must keep secrets secret, and why not doing so causes such harm,' he continued.
Mr Parker claimed in the speech, given at a London think-tank, that there are several thousand U.K.-based terrorist operatives who have benefitted from the Snowden exposés.
Fury: The spy chief: MI5 director-general Andrew Parker has blasted the Guardian's publication of Britain's espionage capabilities
Even worse, Mr Morell claims, is the possibility that Mr Snowden’s files were compromised as he trotted across the globe from Washington to Hawaii, then Hong Kong to Moscow.
‘We have to assume that any material Mr Snowden had with him when he was in HK, and now in Russia, has been compromised – I think we have to assume that,’ said the former second-in-command.
Currently squirreled away in Russia after being granted temporary political asylum, Mr Snowden has rarely been seen in public except to receive an award for ‘Integrity in Intelligence.’
That award couldn’t be more juxtaposed with the way Mr Snowden’s government views him.
‘What Edward Snowden did has put Americans at greater risk because terrorists learn from leaks, they will be more careful,’ said Mr Morell. ‘We will not get the intelligence we would have gotten otherwise.’