Miller: NSA "just losing time" in wake of Snowden scandal

U.S. intelligence insiders say the Edward Snowden affair will continue to create problems for years to come
U.S. intelligence insiders say the Edward Sno... 04:02

For the first time, the National Security Agency is talking about the secrets taken by Edward Snowden. The leader of the NSA's internal investigation spoke to CBS News senior correspondent John Miller on "60 Minutes." Rick Ledgett says the 1.7 million stolen documents include material that could cripple the NSA's mission.

In the wake of the Snowden scandal, the NSA is just losing time, Miller said.

"If an adversary has that (information), and they say, 'Here's what we know about the adversary,' they change all that," Miller said. "And when they say, 'Here's what we don't know about the adversary,' they say we don't have to worry about that now. Really, it tells them how to counter-program intelligence, and there's not much the NSA can do about all that."

Miller added on "CBS This Morning," that the estimates of the people doing the damage control assessment say Snowden may have leaked about 200,000 of the documents to journalists, but are not, statistically speaking, most of the documents he left with.

"So one question is, if his agenda was to expose things that were a risk to American's privacy, why did he take the...documents which basically tells the enemy what we know and what we don't know since that has nothing do with it. And then the second question is what did he intend to do with the rest of them?"

Additionally, according to reports, the entirety of what Snowden took is unknown. Questions of whether Snowden bugged the system also remain, which led to a $26 million revamp of the computer systems in Hawaii. 

"One of the things they did was because of Edward Snowden's role as a system administrator, his access to those systems, and his background as a computer specialist, they went on the assumption that something could have been put in the system that could go off later," Miller said. "So they really replaced -- to the tune of $26 million, we believe -- every computer, classified and unclassified, and most of the cables there in Hawaii."

So how did Miller and "60 Minutes" team get the notoriously secret agency to open up about their story?

"We spent a number of months meeting down there and getting them to agree that, while they declassified everything and came out with a statement every time there was a Snowden leak, their story wasn't getting out as a narrative and that there would be an opportunity in place to tell the whole thing," Miller said. 


Inside the NSA 13:56
 "And this was hard for them," Miller added. "This is not what they do. They're not used to having cameras troop through or asking questions about classified programs. But the idea was, if we could sit down and have that conversation, a lot of people would be interested in it."