A declassified report released Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee that essentially calls Edward Snowden a liar, claims that former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, “caused tremendous damage to national security” and that most of the documents he pilfered from the agency “had nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests.”
Snowden was quick to lash out at the committee, tweeting, “Bottom line: this report's core claims are made without evidence, and are often contrary to both common sense and the public record.”
The 37-page report, the culmination of more than two years of review, most of which remains classified, said that the full extent of the damage caused by Snowden's actions “remains unknown.”
While Snowden may have intended to bring the extent of government surveillance to light for the American public, as he has claimed, the report noted that by doing so he made that same information “available to Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean intelligence services” as well as terrorists and those otherwise seeking to harm the U.S.
Investigators, who contend that the former contractor is not considered a whistleblower under definition of the law, also took issue with Snowden's after-the-fact claims that “he would have faced retribution for voicing concerns” over U.S. surveillance activities, the report said “laws and regulations in effect at the time” provided protection.
The report took numerous swipes at Snowden's character, claiming that he lied about issues ranging from his high school education to the reasons behind his military discharge to his reasons for leaking classified information.
But Snowden's attorney, Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, told NBC News that the report is “a failed attempt to discredit Edward Snowden, whose actions led to the most significant intelligence reforms in a generation" and which “wholly ignores Snowden's repeated and courageous criticism of Russian surveillance and censorship laws."
The report, Wizner told NBC, "combines demonstrable falsehoods with deceptive inferences to paint an entirely fictional portrait of an American whistleblower.
In the years post-Snowden, the NSA and the larger intelligence community probably haven't “done enough to minimize the risk of another massive unauthorized disclosure,” the report said.