Declassified US House Report Claims Snowden in Contact With Russian Intel
17:52 22.12.2016(updated 19:31 22.12.2016)
The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said in a declassified report on Thursday that former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden is in contact with Russia's intelligence services.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – In 2013, Snowden leaked classified documents pertaining to mass surveillance practices carried out by US authorities around the globe. The same year, Russia granted the whistleblower temporary asylum for one year. In August 2014, Snowden received a three-year residence permit to live in Russia.
"Since Snowden's arrival in Moscow, he has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services," the report stated.
The US intelligence community, including the National Security Agency (NSA), has not taken appropriate steps to prevent unauthorized information disclosure after Snowden leaked massive amounts of information, according to the declassified report.
"The Committee remains concerned that more than three years after the start of the unauthorized disclosures, NSA, and the IC [intelligence community] as a whole, have not done enough to minimize the risk of another massive unauthorized disclosure," the report stated
The report also claimed that the information obtained by Snowden could endanger US troops if Russia or China accessed the data.
"As of June 2016, the most recent DoD [Department of Defense] review identified 13 high-risk issues," the report stated. "Eight of the 13 relate to [redacted] capabilities of DoD; if the Russian or Chinese governments have access to this information, American troops will be at greater risk in any future conflict."
US authorities have not established what information obtained by Snowden ended up in the hands of foreign governments, the report claimed. "It is not clear which of the documents Snowden removed are in the hands of a foreign government."
At the same time, the US intelligence community, including the NSA, has not taken appropriate steps to prevent unauthorized information disclosure after the Snowden leaks, the Committee underscored.
In the United States, Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison on charges of espionage and theft of government property. Snowden's lawyers are currently trying to get a last-minute pardon from outgoing US President Barack Obama for him, fearing Trump's administration hard line in his case.
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