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According to a former top NSA official, Islamic State fighters have managed to avoid detection by American intelligence apparatuses because of protocols released in the Edward Snowden leak.

Chris Inglis, the former Deputy Director of the NSA, who retired earlier this year and has since taken up work with a K Street private equity firm, says that ISIL has managed to study up on American surveillance tactics and has evaded detection by the American intelligence community because of the disclosures infamously released by Edward Snowden. The remarks were first reported by Rowan Scarborough:

Mr. Snowden “went way beyond disclosing things that bore on privacy concerns,” said Mr. Inglis, who retired in January. “‘Sources and methods’ is what we say inside the intelligence community — the means and methods we use to hold our adversaries at risk, and ISIL is clearly one of those. 

When the reporter asked "if the Islamic State has studied Mr. Snowden’s documents and taken action, Mr. Inglis answered, 'Clearly.'”

This isn't the first invoking of Snowden's name since ISIL began its rampage across northern Iraq and Syria. In the aftermath of last month's failed U.S. raid to spring the since murdered American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Snowden's disclosures were interjected into the debate about whether the mission failed because ISIL now understood how the United States gathers its intelligence.

As it turns out, it's still easy to be of two distinct minds about Snowden's disclosures, especially as they fit into the discourse over ISIL:

And then, of course, there's the theory (allegedly linked to Snowden) that ISIL leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the son of Jewish parents and was trained by the Mossad. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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