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US spy chief calls on Snowden to return NSA documents

Published on Jan 30, 2014 1:28 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have damaged America's national security and he should return the secret documents he has "stolen," the US spy chief said Wednesday.

Mr Snowden's disclosures since June have revealed the National Security Agency's vast electronic eavesdropping operations, sparking global outrage and prompting calls in Congress to curtail the NSA's powers.

But James Clapper, director of national intelligence, delivered a scathing condemnation of Mr Snowden at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying his leaks have aided America's adversaries and undermined cooperation with foreign partners.

"What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way, way beyond his professed concerns with so-called domestic surveillance programs," Mr Clapper said. "As a result, we've lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources, including some shared with us by valued partners."

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