Edward Snowden isn't a whistleblower, nor is he a patriot. He's "a criminal" — at least according to every member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Following what lawmakers have described as an exhaustive two-year investigation, the committee released a scathing report Thursday condemning the former NSA contractor as a liar and a thief whose disclosures have endangered national security in ways we have yet to understand.
"[T]he 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," states an unclassified summary of the report.
The summary advances several key findings, which the committee presents as a rebuttal to the idea of Snowden as an earnest whistleblower working to reform an oppressive surveillance state. The committee found that Snowden's disclosures helped to diminish the government's ability to collect information about foreign intelligence targets, failed to express his concerns of legal or moral wrongdoing to any official government channel, and that Snowden "was, and remains, a serial exaggerator and fabricator."
"Edward Snowden is no hero — he’s a traitor who willfully betrayed his colleagues and his country," said committee chair Devin Nunes in a statement. "I look forward to his eventual return to the United States, where he will face justice for his damaging crimes.” Ranking member Adam Schiff said of Snowden, "The Committee’s Review — a product of two years of extensive research — shows his claims to be self-serving and false, and the damage done to our national security to be profound."
Upon the report's release, Snowden took to Twitter to rebut its accusations. "The American people deserve better," he wrote. "This report diminishes the committee."
The classified report on Snowden's disclosures comes on the heels of a public campaign by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and others calling on President Obama to pardon him. The House Intelligence Committee today took issue with that effort as well. In a separate document signed by all its members, the committee urged Obama not to pardon Snowden, who they say "perpetrated the largest and most damaging public disclosure of classified information in our nation's history."
While the four-page summary is available to the public, the full 36-page report is classified; however, every member of the House of Representatives will have access to it, according to the Intelligence Committee.
Hamza Shaban is a technology policy reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Hamza Shaban at Hamza.Shaban@buzzfeed.com.
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