Holder: Leaks Damaged U.S. Security

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — Attorney General Eric Holder called the leaks about U.S. surveillance programs “extremely damaging” and vowed justice for whomever disseminated the information.

Appearing at a U.S.-European Union ministerial meeting Friday in Dublin, Holder was asked by a reporter why the United States hasn’t requested the arrest of Edward Snowden, the self-avowed National Security Agency leaker.

Holder didn’t mention Snowden’s name and said the case remains under investigation. Snowden provided documents to journalists revealing the existence of secret programs to collect records of domestic telephone calls in the United States and the Internet activity of overseas residents.

“The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result those leaks. The safety of the American people and the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks,” Holder said. “We are presently in the process of that investigation, and I’m confident the person who is responsible will be held accountable.”

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The leaks have spurred great concern in Europe. EU officials in Dublin raised questions and German Chancellor Angela Merkel told CNN in an interview that European officials are particularly concerned about the PRISM program — the secret set of tools used to collect data about overseas Internet communications. The NSA and FBI have obtained massive numbers of U.S. phone logs through a court order.

Merkel intends to discuss the PRISM surveillance program with President Obama, she told CNN in Berlin on Friday. She wants the greatest possible transparency on all these issues, she said.

The European Union has “serious concerns” about the reported large-scale surveillance of online data by United States authorities, European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding said.

Snowden went public about NSA surveillance programs Sunday in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian. As an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the U.S. electronic intelligence agency, he had been working at an NSA facility in Hawaii and had worked for the CIA in the past. Snowden was last heard from during interviews he conducted from a hotel room in Hong Kong, but his whereabouts are now unclear. He no longer works for the contractor.

CNN’s Joe Sterling, Bridget Fallon, and Richard Quest contributed to this report