House Intell Committee: Snowden Damaged his Country

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Patriot or traitor? I said traitor. And stick by that:

Summarizing its investigation of Edward Snowden, the House Intelligence Committee says the former National Security Agency contractor did tremendous damage to the U.S.

The committee published the summary findings of a two-year investigation today as a new film about Snowden opens across the country.

Snowden stole 1.5 million classified government documents that he had access to as an NSA contractor. He then fled to Russia via Hong Kong.

As NPR’s David Welna reports,

“Most major congressional reports are rolled out with news conferences, floor speeches and press releases. Not this one. There is only a three-page unclassified summary of the House Intelligence Committee’s actual 36-page report, which remains classified. Devin Nunes is the California Republican who chairs that panel.

“Nunes: ‘The report is based on facts, so it’s just all the facts that we gathered over a two-year process, and the report … I think, speaks for itself.’ “

The summary is available here. It contains five major points:

  • Snowden caused “tremendous damage to national security” and the documents he stole had nothing to do with programs affecting individual privacy interests. Rather, the documents pertained “to military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s adversaries.” The report says the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to mitigate the damage Snowden caused.
  • Snowden is not a whistleblower, but a disgruntled employee whose actions infringed on the privacy of thousands of government employees and contractors. A real whistleblower, the report suggests, would have remained in the U.S. and not fled to China and Russia.
  • Two weeks before he began the massive download of 1.5 million documents, Snowden had a “workplace spat” with NSA managers.
  • Snowden is “a serial exaggerator and fabricator” who told a series of untrue stories about his health, education, and performance reviews.
  • The Committee says it is concerned that NSA and intelligence community in general have not done enough to prevent “another massive unauthorized disclosure of documents.”

Snowden should not be romanticized as a national hero. Snowden is where the Oliver Stone left and the Ron Paul libertarian right see eye to eye. Believe in Snowden? Believe he should receive a presidential pardon? So does the ACLU. So does Bernie Sanders:

Sanders joins 20 other prominent public figures – from Hollywood actors and rock musicians to politicians, professors and Black Lives Matter activists – who call on Barack Obama to find some way of allowing Snowden to return home to the US from exile in Russia. The Guardian’s voices are raised in the week that Oliver Stone’s film, Snowden, is released in the US and that a coalition of groups including the ACLU and Amnesty International launch a new campaign for a presidential pardon before Obama steps down.

Among the writers in the Guardian are Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who released the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, who calls for Snowden to be allowed to make a public interest defense in any US trial. From the world of arts, actor Susan Sarandon and director Terry Gilliam, novelist Barry Eisler and Sonic Youth singer Thurston Moore all make impassioned calls for an Obama pardon.

Senior politicians from both sides of the Atlantic, including former US senator Mark Udall, UK parliamentarian David Winnick and German Green party member Hans-Christian Ströbele all fly the flag for a Snowden homecoming. Similar calls are made by public intellectuals including Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and Sanders’ former Democratic presidential rival and Harvard law professor, Lawrence Lessig.

What wonderful company to keep.

Michael Hayden:

What Edward Snowden did amounted to the greatest hemorrhaging of legitimate American secrets in the history of my nation.

If he wants to come home, and that’s his choice, I think he should face the full force of the law. Then he would be able to mount his defense. I would not be supportive of a public interest defense, however, because the American people declare some things to be legal and some things to be illegal, and don’t anoint the individual citizen to decide whether that’s a good or a bad idea.

If Snowden really claims that his actions amounted to genuine civil disobedience, he should go to some English language bookstore in Moscow and get a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. Thoreau points out clearly that civil disobedience gets its moral authority by the willingness to suffer the penalties from disobeying a law, even if you think that law is unjust.

It would be incredibly unwise for this president to offer a pardon. President Obama and his successors are dependent on the 100,000-plus people inside the American intelligence community – the people Edward Snowden betrayed. For any president to align himself with Snowden’s approach in this controversy would carry an incredible cost to the spirit and morale of the intelligence community.

Snowden is a national traitor, plain and simple.

10 Responses to “House Intell Committee: Snowden Damaged his Country”

  1. 2

    Spurwing Plover

    The Demacrats have done far more damage to this nations security There was Slick Willy and Al Gore selling out to the chi-coms and the Teleban and we now have Obama opening this nation up to so called Refugees. Liberal Demacrats one of the planets lowests life forms ever to exist

  2. 3

    Enchanted

    Perhaps snowden didn’t do it the right way but the American people needed to know the depth of corruption. I do feel if he had done it the right way ( whatever that is) he would have committed ” suicide”.

  3. 4

    Petercat

    “The American people declare some things to be legal and some things to be illegal, and don’t anoint the individual citizen to decide whether that’s a good or a bad idea.”
    No, the politicians decide.
    On both counts.
    And they anoint themselves to decide whether or not the laws that apply to the peons apply to themselves.
    Not an admirer of Snowden, but he did damage many programs that needed to be damaged.

  4. 5

    Greg

    @Enchanted, #3:

    Perhaps snowden didn’t do it the right way but the American people needed to know the depth of corruption.

    Perhaps you should remind us just what corruption it was that Edward Snowden revealed, because when I try to think what it was supposed to be, absolutely nothing comes to mind.

    He revealed some controversial surveillance programs, but that doesn’t fall under the heading of corruption. The security of the nation may have been seriously damaged because they were revealed.

    Seriously, how can people want to crucify Hillary Clinton for having a few retroactively classified emails on her server—which there’s no evidence was ever hacked—and then give this guy a pass for stealing 10,000 highly classified NSA records and spiriting them away to Russia? This was a goldmine for Putin’s intelligence services. It has probably provided his hackers with a detailed map to every classified national security program the government oversees.

  5. 6

    Skook

    author

    Someone flew one of our Top-Secret drones into Iran. They do not fly independently; someone was directing the flight and directed a perfect landing. This episode was swept under the carpet and our Iranian apologist and lobbyist in the Oval office was unconcerned. and indifferent to finding out who committed this act of treason. Perhaps there is a nefarious reason why.
    Whether Snowden is a genius or a just a common thief is beyond my meager pay grade, but if he could find the bastard who flew that drone into Iran, I would give him the right to return and allow him to work off a sentence by hacking the Russians for twenty years with only a subsistence salary while Snowden is confined to Camp Lejuene, NC, under strict surveillance and training our military hackers. This is only if he has some strategic value and can deliver the drone thief.

  6. 7

    Enchanted

    @Greg: Greg. The more I Read your comments, the more I believe you must be a plant. Your inability to see the corruption and the fact the country is being taken over by islamics and the communist group (which should be interesting once it is down to the two) is sad. I am beginning to doubt the loyalties of people like you that had no outrage when the communist flag flew over the democratic convention with no American flag in sight . If you ( generally speaking) wish to live in communist society move to Cuba, Venezuela or Russia. If you don’t care about yourself, think about your children and their children. They Will pay the price. Freedom is never free. Done here. I have wasted enough breath on the likes of you.

  7. 8

    Bill… Deplorable Me

    @Greg:

    Seriously, how can people want to crucify Hillary Clinton for having a few retroactively classified emails on her server

    First and foremost, to debunk this utter falsehood:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fbi-director-james-comey-hillary-clinton-email-probe/story?id=41044927

    Clinton was wrong when she said she never sent or received classified information over the server. “Our investigation found … 110 [emails with then-classified information] that she either received or sent,” he said.

    There. That’s better.

    If Snowden had wanted to expose “corrupt” programs, he could have selectively exposed the programs he deemed corrupt and then placed himself in the hands of legal judgement. He could still have done this by getting out of the country first for his own protection, if he felt threatened. But, he didn’t.

    What he did was carpet bomb national security and try and destroy everything in his path. The list of those who support amnesty for Snowden all have something in common: they love it when the US it taken down a notch. The far left views the US as oppressive and harmful and should have its power and influence curtailed. Snowden certainly filled that bill.

    But a pardon from Obama? Obama has gone so far to say Snowden “is not a patriot”, but Obama has worked for almost 8 years to achieve the same goal of making America weaker in world influence. But why would he? Even if Snowden accomplished part of Obama’s goal for him, he doesn’t owe Snowden anything. Yet, with Obama, one cannot rule anything out. In fact, the more wrong it is, the more likely Obama is to do it. Iraq, for instance. Iran for another.

  8. 9

    Greg

    @Enchanted, #7:

    The more I Read your comments, the more I believe you must be a plant. Your inability to see the corruption and the fact the country is being taken over by islamics and the communist group …

    Maybe you should spend a little less time worrying about communists and the imminent imposition of sharia law, and a little more thinking about Donald Trump’s ties with the Russian oligarchy, his clueless comments about NATO, and the fact that Vladimir Putin’s intelligence service is probably getting ready to use Wikileaks to put a bumptious reality television host in the White House.

    Unfortunately the right has had so many imaginary conspiracy theories that they can’t recognize the real thing when it’s standing right in front of them, staring them straight in the eye.

  9. 10

    kitt

    Leaks leaks leaks, Seems wikileaks may have uncovered 2 slightly interesting thing besides the fixing of the democrat primary, insider trading
    Pike Electric, another corporation on the stock list, received a $17.9 million contract from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an agency that Hillary chaired when she was secretary of state, according to The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross

    They also own Smith and Wesson stock, interesting. Seems the GOP would be more likely to invest in gun manufacturer. But DNC sought to make money off of democratic pushed gun control policies:
    In the recent DNC leak, there is a folder labeled “CNBC,” containing three files with information on stocks and equities. With Soros as a major player what else could be expected?
    DNC leak showing that the Democrats have implemented a system for nationwide, automated voter fraud.
    This is a criminal organization, very crappy at cyber security, and should be disbanded and its insiders prosecuted.
    Good news patriots Missouri now has constitutional C and C, NYT is having a kitten over it lol. The racist editorial rant is epic.

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