At this point, I believe we have sufficient evidence to conclude that NSA secrecy is only effective against the US public.
Look at the background of Snowden. If he is typical, then the NSA has no ability to protect secrets from any government or motivated corporation. The NSA appears to have systematically eliminated all the traditional sources of loyalty.
- The NSA could not appeal to Snowden's patriotism, because the NSA was subverting the core values of the constitution.
- The NSA could not appeal to his desire for job security, because he had none. He was an out-sourced contract employee. He knew he would be replaced as soon as the NSA could figure out a cheaper way to do his job.
- The NSA could not appeal to this professionalism, because he was too young, isolated, and inexperienced.
- The NSA could not appeal to Snowden's protective instincts, because he was in a position to discern that the threat from terrorism is minimal.
The NSA appears to have based their entire claim to his loyalty on his desire for money.
Snowden and the other intelligence contractors are simply mercenaries. Their job, is first and for-most to get paid. You buy their loyalty with money. Anybody who offers a greater reward, can shift their loyalty.
Showden ultimately, found a higher bid for his loyalty than his Booz/Allen/Hamilton paycheck.
This is not rocket science. This is simply Management 101. One of the most shocking revelations has been that the NSA is so incompetent in managing the basics of loyalty. I am afraid that we will eventually find that the only thing that is unique to Snowden is that he acted publicly.
It is very likely that the 'secrets' of the NSA have already been cheaply purchased by many governments and large corporations.