Washington Times on September 15, 2016, reported that a House intelligence committee report on Edward Snowden characterizes the former National Security Agency contractor not as a whistleblower but as a “serial exaggerator” whose theft of 1.5 million classified government documents has done tremendous damage to national security. Excerpts below:
A 4-page summary of the classified report says the bulk of the documents taken “have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests” but rather pertain to military, defense and intelligence programs.
“A review of the materials Snowden compromised makes clear that he handed over secrets that protect American troops overseas and secrets that provide vital defenses against terrorists and nation-states,” the report states.
The report, two years in the making, was released a day after supporters of Mr. Snowden launched a formal campaign to request that President Obama grant him a pardon and just ahead of the release of Oliver Stone’s theatrical film about Mr. Snowden.
…Mr. Snowden has avoided prosecution by taking asylum in Russia.
While Mr. Snowden has characterized himself as a whistleblower for revealing the surveillance programs, lawmakers referred to him a disgruntled employee who argued with his supervisors and had been reprimanded just two weeks before he began illegally downloading classified documents.
“Edward Snowden is no hero – he’s a traitor who willfully betrayed his colleagues and his country.,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. “In light of his long list of exaggerations and outright fabrications detailed in this report, no one should take him at his word.”
In addition to its conclusions about Mr. Snowden and the documents taken, the report summary also notes concern about the NSA’s ability to prevent a breach of such magnitude in the future.
The report states that the NSA and the intelligence community “have not done enough to minimize the risk of another massive unauthorized disclosure. Although it is impossible to reduce the chance of another Snowden to zero, more work can and should be done to improve the security of the people and computer networks that keep America’s most closely held secrets.”
The full report, which is 36 pages long, is classified.