The Times reports that the leak of the details behind the August embassy closings tipped off Al Qaeda and undermined US intel efforts:
Qaeda Plot Leak Has Undermined U.S. Intelligence
WASHINGTON — As the nation’s spy agencies assess the fallout from disclosures about their surveillance programs, some government analysts and senior officials have made a startling finding: the impact of a leaked terrorist plot by Al Qaeda in August has caused more immediate damage to American counterterrorism efforts than the thousands of classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.
Since news reports in early August revealed that the United States intercepted messages between Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, discussing an imminent terrorist attack, analysts have detected a sharp drop in the terrorists’ use of a major communications channel that the authorities were monitoring. Since August, senior American officials have been scrambling to find new ways to surveil the electronic messages and conversations of Al Qaeda’s leaders and operatives.
“The switches weren’t turned off, but there has been a real decrease in quality” of communications, said one United States official, who like others quoted spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence programs.
As to who might be trying to accomplish what with this latest story, who can tell? Is this meant to be false reassurance to Al Qaeda, a valentine to Snowden and his press enablers, or something else entirely (like, a news story...)? I would say that based purely on the timing the August 2013 details were *not* Administration self-promotion like the Obama 2012 re-election leaks.
FOR WANT OF A WORD, or ORIGINAL INTENT: I amended the previous paragraph to reverse its meaning by adding the word "not". Ooops.