Congressional Report Aiming to Smear Snowden, Surprisingly Exonerates Him
22:16 22.12.2016(updated 00:34 23.12.2016)
A Congressional report aimed at smearing Edward Snowden has surprisingly exonerated him, and the whistleblower took to Twitter on Thursday to brilliantly explain the details.
The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee declassified a report claiming that Snowden is in contact with Russia's intelligence services.
The report claims that it had not established what information obtained by the whistleblower ended up in the hands of foreign governments.
"It is not clear which of the documents Snowden removed are in the hands of a foreign government," the report reads. Despite the lack of evidence of any information being given to foreign governments, the report goes on to claim that the whistleblower is working with Russian intelligence officials.
On Twitter, Snowden noted that after three years of investigating, according to the report, they have still not been able to find any evidence of harmful intent, foreign influence, or harm.
Snowden also pointed out that their assertion that he is working with Russia is based on a quote from Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich, who earlier this week claimed that NATO assassinated Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov.
"This is the standard of evidence the worst claims they level are based on, after three years and millions of dollars. But it goes on," Snowden tweeted.
The report also claims that the whistleblower visited China while he was in Japan.
"Never happened – not even transit. And USG knows this, because of passport control," Snowden wrote.
The report then claims that he attended a hacker conference and met Chinese hackers, and then told his coworkers at the NSA how great China is. Snowden tweeted that this claim is both "false and insane."
"Moreover, I never went to any hacker con during my time in government, IIRC. Think my first was HOPE, speaking alongside Ellsberg-- in 2014!" Snowden added.
The whistleblower called the report an "endless parade of falsity, so unbelievable that it comes off as parody," but noted that it is unintentionally exonerating.
"They document me going, again and again – over years, despite punishments – to superiors to report complaints of waste, fraud, and abuse," Snowden explained. "They characterize many of the best things I ever did – standing up for co-workers, reporting XSS vulns in TS/SCI systems – as wrongs."
He notes that the report does not mention that journalism based on his revelations won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, helped to reform US laws, and changed even the President's mind.
"Yet they argue at length I should have gone to NSA's Inspector General. That he would end these abuses and protect whistleblowers," Snowden wrote.
The former NSA Inspector General in question, George Ellard, was, as we previously reported, recently fired for retaliating against another whistleblower.
The findings of his retaliation validate Snowden's claims that he feared going through official channels to report his concerns about NSA overreach, although it was confirmed that he had expressed his worries about domestic spying programs to his supervisors in a series of emails.
Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that the report admits that Snowden had purged and abandoned hard drives rather than bringing them through Russia – something he would have been unlikely to do if he had been working with Kremlin intelligence agencies.
"Final note: HPSCI's report admits I purged and abandoned hard drives rather than risk bringing them through Russia. Glad it's settled," Snowden wrote.
In 2013, after releasing the trove of information on the NSA global surveillance program, Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum for one year. In 2014, it was upgraded to a three-year residence permit to stay in the nation.
Snowden is currently facing charges for espionage and theft of government property that could result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years should he return to the US. His lawyers and supporters are campaigning for him to receive a pardon from President Barack Obama before the US leader leaves office.
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