This week, Oliver Stone plans to bring the story of NSA leaker Edward Snowden to a wider audience with the US release of Snowden, their new You’ve Got Mail remake. Sadly, the US Congress has yet to issue an official review of the movie, but the House intelligence committee released the next best thing yesterday with its report on Snowden himself and...wow.
The unclassified findings break down Snowden’s demerits into four sections, slamming the former NSA contractor for — among other things — invading people’s privacy, trying to avoid imprisonment and lying about his weak legs. While the report’s other charges against Snowden are more serious, that last one probably best illustrates the severity of the committee’s rebuke.
“A close review of Snowden’s official employment records and submissions reveals a pattern of intentional lying,” writes the committee. “He claimed to have left Army basic training because of broken legs when in fact he washed out because of shin splints.”
Additionally, the report cites Snowden’s unwillingness to be tried for his actions (“in the tradition of civil disobedience he professes to embrace”) as evidence that he is not a whistleblower, but “a serial exaggerator and fabricator”.
“In May 2013, Snowden informed his supervisor that he would be out of the office to receive treatment for worsening epilepsy,” writes the committee. “In reality, he was on his way to Hong Kong with stolen secrets.”
Perhaps the committee’s most creative accusation, however, is the assertion that the man who exposed the scale of the NSA’s massive data collection scheme himself “infringed on the privacy of thousands of friends, colleagues and fellow citizens”.
“He obtained his colleagues’ security credentials through misleading means, abused his access as a systems administrator to search his co-workers personal drives, and removed the personally identifiable information of thousands of IC employees and contractors,” reads the report.
In an accompanying letter to President Obama, the committee members state that “Snowden is not a patriot. He is not a whistleblower. He is a criminal.” Subsequently, they conclude that pardoning him would “severely undermine America’s intelligence institutions and core principles, and would subvert a range of procedures in place to protect whistleblowers.”
In short, the House intelligence committee gives Snowden 22 thumbs down. Read the full report below.