Snowden Slammed in House Committee Report

A House Committee report slammed the former U.S. defense contractor saying he has done “tremendous damage” to the United States national security.

Edward Snowden’s hopes of a presidential pardon were dimmed Thursday when a House Committee report slammed the former U.S. defense contractor saying he has done “tremendous damage” to United States national security.

That conclusion was part of a 36-page report (PDF) released Thursday by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The report said the disclosure of thousands of top-secret documents by Snowden was not an act of a whistleblower, but rather the acts of a disgruntled employee.

“Snowden caused tremendous damage to national security, and the vast majority of the documents he stole have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests – they instead pertain to military, defense and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s adversaries,” stated the HPSCI report.

The report is the result of a two-year investigation into Snowden’s leaks of thousands of classified documents about U.S. top-secret surveillance programs to journalists that shed light on U.S. spying efforts.

The blistering rebuke came one day before the release of Oliver Stone’s feature film about Snowden and just days after the launch of a Pardon Snowden campaign spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“Additionally, although Snowden’s professed objective may have been to inform the general public, the information he released is also available to Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean government intelligence services; any terrorist with Internet access; and many others who wish to do harm to the United States,” stated the HPSCI report.

In an email to Threatpost, Ben Wizner, Snowden’s attorney at the ACLU said:

“This is a dishonest report that attempts to discredit a genuine American hero. After years of ‘investigation,’ the committee still can’t point to any remotely credible evidence that Snowden’s disclosures caused harm. In a more candid moment, the NSA’s former deputy director, who was directly involved in the government’s investigation, explicitly said he didn’t believe Snowden had cooperated with either China or Russia.”

The committee’s report also attacked Snowden’s character, calling him a “serial exaggerator and fabricator” who lied and cheated about everything from his technical background and health.

“These findings demonstrate that the public narrative popularized by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions, a pattern that began before he stole 1.5 million sensitive documents,” the report states.

Committee members claim Snowden padded his resume with more experience than he actually had, stole answers to employment tests and made false claims about being a “senior advisor” at the CIA when in fact he was an entry-level computer technician.

In a flurry of tweets reacting to the report, Snowden said the House report “is so artlessly distorted that it would be amusing if it weren’t such a serious act of bad faith.” Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia for the past three years, also took issue with many of the committee’s conclusions.

“Bottom line: after ‘two years of investigation,’ the American people deserve better. This report diminishes the committee,” tweeted Snowden.


Members also took issue with Snowden’s status as a whistleblower that deserves protected status.

“Under the law, publicly revealing classified information does not qualify someone as a whistleblower. However, disclosing classified information that shows fraud, waste, abuse, or other illegal activity to the appropriate law enforcement or oversight personnel- including to Congress – does make someone a whistleblower and affords them with critical protections.”

Earlier this week, Snowden took his case to the media as part of a Pardon Snowden campaign kickoff and argued he was a whistleblower worthy of clemency.

“Today whistleblowing is democracy’s safeguard of last resort. The one upon which we all rely on when all other checks and balances have failed and when the public has no idea of what is going on behind closed doors,” he said during a press conference.

“The truth is that Edward Snowden and the journalists with whom he worked did the job that the House Intelligence Committee was supposed to do: bring meaningful oversight to the U.S. intelligence community. He did so responsibly and carefully, and their efforts have led to historic reforms,” Wizner said.

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