Can Edward Snowden have “blood on his hands” despite a subsequent admission that nobody has actually been harmed as a result of his leaks about the overbroad, privacy-destroying surveillance tactics of Western powers like the United States and the United Kingdom?

Painting such a picture certainly appears to be the goal of a bunch of unidentified British “senior government sources” that told the Sunday Times (paywalled) in the United Kingdom that the Russian and Chinese governments have gotten their hands on the files that Snowden had copied from the United States and have cracked the encryption, allowing them to read (allegedly) millions of Western intelligence documents.

To be clear, no actual sources are named in the story. No actual evidence is provided to show that this claim that the British government has had to pull agents out of the field to protect them from the Russians and the Chinese is true. And the newspaper seems to have happy to have just carried water for the government. There is no evidence they attempted to contact Edward Snowden (or even Glenn Greenwald, who reported the initial stories). In fact, the story even vaguely floats this unattributed, explosive claim:

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