A two-year investigation into Edward Snowden and the impact of his leaks on the US has concluded he has done “tremendous damage” to the security of the nation. Snowden has, unsurprisingly, attacked the claims.
This was the key finding of a report by the US House Intelligence Committee which said that countries including China, Iran and North Korea are likely to have gained insights into US security capabilities as a result.
“Snowden caused tremendous damage to national security, and the vast majority of the documents he stole have nothing to do with programmes affecting individual privacy interests. They instead pertain to military, defence and intelligence programmes of great interest to America’s adversaries," said the report.
“A review of the materials Snowden compromised makes clear that he handed over secrets that protect American troops overseas and that provide vital defences against terrorists and nation states.”
The report added that the government has already spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” in attempting to mitigate the damage, and that this is likely to run into “billions” in time.
The report also took issue with Snowden’s portrayal of himself as a whistleblower, claiming that he ignored all legitimate avenues through which to raise his concerns about the US surveillance activities.
"Contrary to his public claims that he notified numerous NSA [National Security Agency] officials about what he believed to be illegal intelligence collection, the Committee found no evidence that Snowden took any official effort to express concerns about US intelligence activities - legal, moral or otherwise - to any oversight officials in the US government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so," said the report.
Snowden is also accused of being a “serial exaggerator and fabricator”, such as by claiming that he left the army because of broken legs when in fact he had shin splints.
“He also doctored his performance evaluations and obtained new positions at NSA by exaggerating his CV and stealing the answers to an employment test,” the report said.
Unsurprisingly, Snowden has hit back at the allegations with a series of messages on Twitter calling several aspects of the report into question.
The claim I "doctored performance evaluations?" This one is amazing: I reported an XSS (hacking) vulnerability in CIA annual review system.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 15 September 2016
Army held me for weeks in a special unit for convalescence before separation. I left on crutches. They don't do that for "shin splints."— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 15 September 2016
Congress spent two years writing a report to discourage you from going to see this film. It opens tomorrow. https://t.co/MEUxqvgXPw— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 15 September 2016
The report ended by saying that the NSA needs to improve its work on creating an environment in which another Snowden-style leak cannot take place, claiming that not enough has been done to reduce the risk.
"The Committee remains concerned that more than three years after the start
of the unauthorised disclosures, the NSA and the IC [intelligence community] as a whole have not done enough to minimise the risk of another massive unauthorised disclosure," said the report.
"Although it is impossible to reduce the chance of another Snowden to zero, more work can and should be done to improve the security of the people and computer networks that keep America's most closely held secrets."
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