Panel re­port: Snow­den no hero but ‘liar’

House com­mit­tee chair calls him ‘traitor’

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Brian Ben­nett

WASH­ING­TON — Edward Snow­den ex­ag­ger­ated his re­sume, stole test an­swers and failed train­ing on U.S. sur­veil­lance law be­fore he copied an es­ti­mated 1.5 mil­lion clas­si­fied doc­u­ments from the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, ac­cord­ing to a sum­mary of a House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee re­port re­leased Thurs­day.

The com­mit­tee unan­i­mously adopted the in­ves­tiga­tive re­port a day be­fore Oliver Stone’s “Snow­den” pre­mieres in movie the­aters. The film ap­par­ently por­trays the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor as a heroic whis­tle blower.

Civil lib­er­ties ad­vo­cates have launched a na­tional pub­lic­ity cam­paign call­ing on Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to par­don Snow­den, who­has been ac­cused of es­pi­onage, be­fore he leaves of­fice.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers also sent a bi­par­ti­san let­ter to Obama urg­ing him not to par­don Snow­den.

The House re­port pro­vides new de­tails about Snow­den’s back­ground, calls into ques­tion his self-de­clared mo­ti­va­tions and his work at the NSA be­fore he fled to China and then Rus­sia, where he now lives.

It de­scribes him as a “se­rial liar and fab­ri­ca­tor.”

“Con­trary to Snow­den’s self-por­trayal as a prin­ci­pled whis­tle blower,” the com­mit­tee said in a state­ment, he was “a disgruntled em­ployee who had fre­quent con­flicts with his man­agers and was rep­ri­manded” shortly be­fore he be­gan down­load­ing the trove of NSA doc­u­ments.

Re­lease of the dig­i­tal doc­u­ments to me­dia groups in 2013 “did se­vere dam­age to U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity, com­pro­mis­ing the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity’s anti-ter­ror ef­forts and en­dan­ger­ing the se­cu­rity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple as well as ac­tive-duty U.S. troops,” the com­mit­tee said.

The re­lease also led to a pub­lic de­bate about U.S. in­tel­li­gence pow­ers, and new Edward Snow­den speaks via satel­lite from Rus­sia dur­ing a Wed­nes­day news con­fer­ence. re­stric­tions on how far the NSA­can go in sur­veil­lance of U.S. cit­i­zens.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers said their two-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion found most of the files Snow­den took had no civil lib­er­ties con­cerns, but in­stead re­vealed spy­ing pro­grams against ad­ver­saries and al­lied gov­ern­ments.

“Edward Snow­den is no hero — he’s a traitor who will­fully be­trayed his col­leagues and his coun­try,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the com­mit­tee chair­man, said in a state­ment. “In light of his long list of ex­ag­ger­a­tions and out­right fab­ri­ca­tions de­tailed in this re­port, no one should take him at his word.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif., rank­ing mem­berofthe com­mit­tee, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that Snow­den’s claims that he acted to de­fend Amer­i­cans’ pri­vacy were “self serv­ing and false” and that he did “pro­found” dam­age to na­tional se­cu­rity. “While those dis­clo­sures did spark a use­ful pub­lic de­bate, the col­lat­eral dam­age has been ex­tra­or­di­nary,” Schiff said.

The 36-page in­ves­tiga­tive re­port re­mains clas­si­fied, but a three-page sum­mary re­leased by the com­mit­tee shows that Snow­den failed an in­ter­nal train­ing for NSA em­ploy­ees on Sec­tion 702 of sur­veil­lance law that tar­gets for­eign in­ter­net traf­fic. Part of that train­ing, law­mak­ers con­cluded, in­cluded pri­vacy pro­vi­sions in place to pro­tect U.S. cit­i­zens from data col­lected in­ad­ver­tently while the NSA vac­u­umed up on­line data.

Snow­den has lived as a fugi­tive in Rus­sia since June 2013.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have said that ma­te­rial he leaked helped Rus­sia and China pro­tect them­selves from U.S. sur­veil­lance and taught ter­ror­ist groups such as Is­lamic State to bet­ter hide their tracks.

The re­port is based on hun­dreds of se­cret doc­u­ments and dozens of brief­ings with in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials. The com­mit­tee con­cluded that Snow­den is not a whis­tle blower be­cause he did not at­tempt to raise his

JUSTIN LANE/EPA

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