Snowden dismisses ‘distorted’ U.S. report on mass surveillance disclosures

From left Melissa Leo Joseph Gordon-Levitt Tom Wilkinson and Zachary Quinto star in'Snowden. JURGEN OLCZYK  OPEN ROAD FILMS

Sep 16, 2016- Edward Snowden has dismissed a report by the House of Representatives intelligence committee that heavily criticised his activities.

It coincides with the release of Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” movie.

There is “no evidence that Snowden has made any effort to formally express his concerns” about the activities of the NSA, and cannot be considered a “whistleblower”, protected by the law, also says Committee in a summary of its report, details of which are classified and cannot be published.

Among the disclosures were details of how secret court orders allowed the NSA to collect United States citizens’ phone records and PRISM.

Mr Snowden thanked human rights groups for their campaign to seek a pardon for him from President Barack Obama.

Snowden, of course, made worldwide headlines in 2013 when he leaked classified details on the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance programme to The Guardian and confirmed to the world that yes, the USA security services are hoovering up literally all of our internet data.

The report claims Snowden’s disclosures of top-secret documents and programmes did “tremendous damage” to national security.

The world famous whistle-blower is making his case for a presidential pardon, saying his decision to leak a trove of highly classified National Security Agency documents helped bring about much needed change.

The report’s summary also accused Snowden of claiming he had left Army basic training earlier in his career because of broken legs, as The Guardian reported when Snowden first came forward, “when in fact he washed out because of shin splints”.

The report by the US House Intelligence Committee said countries including China, Iran and North Korea are likely to have gained insights into US security capabilities as a result.

A Congressional report on Thursday criticized Snowden as a “disgruntled employee”, not a “principled whistleblower” protected under law.

Whatever happens, Snowden may find himself under mounting pressure again, his welcome in Russian Federation worn out when his residency permit expires next year – especially since he recently stepped up his criticism of the Kremlin’s authoritarian measures.

The 33-year-old addressed a New York City news conference where advocates from the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International announced an online petition drive to urge Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office. Monday White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Snowden is “charged with serious crimes, and it’s the policy of the [Obama] administration that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States and face those charges”.

But US officials, while adopting measures previous year that regulate the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection of US citizens’ telephone call metadata, have argued that the surveillance programmes are justified in that they protect US interests.