You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

John Brennan and James Woolsey think Edward Snowden should be blamed for the Paris attacks.

Bryan Bedder / Getty

Unsurprisingly, the CIA would like some of the powers it lost in the wake of the Snowden leaks back. Or at least it seems that way: current CIA Director John Brennan and former CIA Director James Woolsey are forcefully blaming Edward Snowden for the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday evening. Those attacks are now believed to have been carried out by ISIS, which Edward Snowden does not belong to.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this morning, Brennan suggested that changes made to the way we gather intelligence in the wake of the Snowden leaks helped create an environment that allowed terrorists to flourish. Specifically, Brennan believes that they led to “handwringing” that hampered the agency’s ability to “find terrorists.” Woolsey was more forceful, telling MSNBC that Snowden has “blood on his hands” because the leaks gave terrorists information about how they were being tracked, leading them to change their behavior. (Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino concurred, but was not so angry as to curse, tweeting, “Also, F Snowden. F him to you know where and back.”

In some ways, this is the spy world’s equivalent of the “Ferguson effect,” the deplorable and totally unproven theory that scrutinizing policing methods—specifically police brutality—causes police to withdraw from their communities, which empowers criminals and leads to an increase in violent crime. Like the “Ferguson effect” there’s no evidence that the “Snowden effect” is real, but that may be beside the point.