Hayden predicted the Taliban would take anything that described a U.S. strike and the intelligence behind it "and figure out who was in the room when that particular operation, say in 2008, was planned, and in whose home." Then the militants would probably punish the traitor who'd worked with the Americans, he said.
"It's possible that someone could get killed in the next few days," said former senior intelligence officer Robert Riegle. He recalled what happened when the U.S. arrested the Soviet double agent, Robert Hanssen: "When people found out what we knew, people died."
Another casualty may be the U.S. attempts to forge cooperation with Pakistan's secretive intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.
Multiple American cables complain about ISI complicity with the Taliban. And they also tell the Pakistanis "how much we know about them," said Riegle, who now runs Mission Concepts Inc., a private intelligence firm.
"You're not going to see any cooperation," he said. "People are going to freeze."
The raw data released Sunday may also prove useful in a wider way to America's "frenemies" — the intelligence services of countries like China and Russia, who have the resources to process and make sense of such vast vaults of data, said Ellen McCarthy, former intelligence officer and president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
Hayden said: "If I'm head of the Russian intelligence, I'm getting my best English speakers and saying: 'Read every document, and I want you to tell me, how good are these guys? What are their approaches, their strengths, their weaknesses and their blind spots?'"
Former CIA official Paul Pillar described what he called the coming chill in the U.S. intelligence community, which had been pushed into sharing information across agencies in the aftermath of the intelligence failures that led to 9/11.
"The pendulum will now swing back," he said. Pillar, who now teaches at Georgetown University, said the community would shift from "need to know" back to "need to protect."
Morrell was interviewed on CBS's "The Early Show" and Bond appeared on NBC's "Today" show.