House Intel Report Is ‘Accidentally Exonerating,’ Says Snowden

by Nika Knight, staff writer

Common Dreams | 22 December, 2016

Edward Snowden
“Unsurprising that [the] report is rifled with obvious falsehoods. The only surprise is how accidentally exonerating it is,” whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted in response to the House Intelligence Committee report. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a heavily redacted, declassified version of its report on National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Snowden charges that the “parade of falsity” contained in the report is “accidentally exonerating.”

The report was several years in the making. A summary of it was published in September of this year just as Oliver Stone’s sympathetic biopic of Snowden was released in theaters—part of a growing campaign that seeks a presidential pardon for the whistleblower.

At the time, Snowden slammed the summary of the report—and he wasn’t alone. “The report is not only one-sided, not only incurious, not only contemptuous of fact,” wrote journalist and author Barton Gellman after it was it published. “It is trifling.”

In the full report (pdf), the intelligence committee neglects to mention Snowden’s well-documented critique of the Russian government at the same time that it charges—with no evidence—that the whistleblower is in contact with Russian spy agencies.

The committee also seems to characterize Snowden as a bad employee for his repeated efforts to report concerns to higher-ups, but then goes on to argue that Snowden should have reported the NSA’s mass surveillance practices to the NSA inspector general (despite documented retaliation against whistleblowers at multiple government agencies, including the NSA).

“Bottom line: this report’s core claims are made without evidence, and are often contrary to both common sense and the public record,” Snowden tweeted.

In a statement, Snowden’s lawyer Ben Wizner, who also directs the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, dismissed the report as he defended his client’s motivation for leaking the information to journalists.

“The House committee spent three years and millions of dollars in a failed attempt to discredit Edward Snowden, whose actions led to the most significant intelligence reforms in a generation,” Wizner said. “The report wholly ignores Snowden’s repeated and courageous criticism of Russian surveillance and censorship laws. It combines demonstrable falsehoods with deceptive inferences to paint an entirely fictional portrait of an American whistleblower.”

Read the whistleblower’s full takedown of the report on Twitter here:

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