From “During a day-long conference at the Georgetown University Law Center, Dr. George Ellard, the inspector general for the National Security Agency, spoke for the first time about the disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In addressing the alleged damage caused by Snowden’s disclosures he compared Snowden to Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent and convicted spy who sold secrets to the Russians.

Ellard has been the NSA’s inspector general since 2007. In this capacity he has not spoken in a public forum before so that made what he said additionally significant. Had Snowden made the decision to report his concerns through approved NSA channels it would have been through Ellard’s office.

Ellard was part of a panel discussion on whether there was a “new paradigm of leaking.” The panel included Alex Abdo, staff attorney of the ACLU National Security Project, Georgetown Law professor David Cole and Kenneth Wainstein, former Homeland Security Advisor and former Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

When Ellard began his prepared statements, he acknowledged ….”