Edward Snowden, NSA Breach: Shortfalls Revealed In House Intelligence Report

Edward Snowden is taking to social media, defending himself against accusations and statements made in the recently released House Intelligence Committee’s official report which casts him, as well as the National Security Agency, in very bad light.

How did this congressional quest for facts begin? Described for readers of this report, the effort was initiated in August 2014 and unnamed “staff” were ordered to “carry out a comprehensive review of the unauthorized disclosures” made in 2013. The Intelligence Committee, according to the document online, wanted to accurately explain “how this breach occurred, what the U.S. Government knows about the man who committed it, and whether the security shortfalls it highlighted had been remedied.”

The Intelligence Committee’s highlights of their conclusions regarding Snowden, the former National Security employee, are not flattering at all. Per one of the statements made in this report,

“Snowden was a disgruntled employee who became engaged in numerous spats with his supervisors.”

The New York Times, regarding the House report and the response from Edward Snowden, also reports on Snowden’s taking to social media to defend himself from the congressional committee’s statements in a “series of posts on Twitter” that ridiculed the report.

Since “disclosing archives of National Security Agency files to journalists in Hong Kong in June 2013,” per the article, Edward Snowden’s Twitter account mentioned what he called out as the panel’s “obvious falsehoods,” and he stated that he also believes his critics “can present no evidence of harmful intent, foreign influence, or harm.”

Is there an argument to be made here against Edward Snowden’s critics? Perhaps there is, according to the Times.

“The full report was not the result of an independent intelligence investigation by the committee. Rather, it was a review of the N.S.A.’s response to Mr. Snowden’s leaks and of the findings from an executive branch investigation. The committee said it did not conduct witness interviews, to avoid jeopardizing any future trial of Mr. Snowden.”

Edward Snowden report, James Clapper
Feb. 25, 2016 file photo, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing.[Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

Setting Edward Snowden’s actions aside just a moment, another point must be highlighted. The House Intelligence panel also had strong words for the NSA and worrisome national security issues as well in this report.

“Snowden’s disclosures did tremendous damage to U.S. national security, and the Committee remains concerned that more than three years after the start of the unauthorized disclosures, NSA, and the IC as a whole, have not done enough to minimize the risk of another massive unauthorized disclosure.”

Add to this statement the committee’s emphasis on “13 high risk issues” and perhaps the situation becomes much clearer for people very concerned with national security.

“As of June 2016, the most recent DoD review identified 13 high-risk issues…. 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.” (p. 22)

The point is an important one which the incoming president must consider in order to fix problems of national security while also setting their own agenda for the incoming Trump administration.

Donald Trump Administration and National Security
President-elect Donald Trump, second from right, accompanied by Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, right, and Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a senior adviser on Dec. 21, 2016. [Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

Previously reported in the Inquisitr, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers that it “felt pretty good” to hand in his resignation. He added at the time one more remark to them. “I have 64 days left and I’d have a pretty hard time with my wife going past that.”

Edward Snowden maintains that DNI Clapper did “lie under oath to Congress,” per the Norddeutscher Rundfunk interview transcript online.

Regarding “secretly” collecting “thousands of confidential documents,” Edward Snowden answered,

“I would say sort of the breaking point is seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. There’s no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and the legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.”

Snowden added that he had a creeping thought that “no one else was going to do this. The public had a right to know about these programs.”

“The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public, but neither of these things we were allowed to discuss, we were allowed no, even the wider body of our elected representatives were prohibited from knowing or discussing these programmes and that’s a dangerous thing. The only review we had was from a secret court, the FISA Court, which is a sort of rubber stamp authority[.]”

And regarding Edward Snowden’s social media statements, according to the Times story which also quotes Snowden’s understanding of “the bottom line,” there seems to be great frustration with some of the report’s statements. The full report, if it truly was not “the result of an independent intelligence investigation by the committee,” as the Times points out, but rather “a review” without the Intelligence panel’s even bothering to conduct witness interviews, one might ask, what good is it?

Edward Snowden’s statement on the bottom line is important.

“Bottom line: this report’s core claims are made without evidence, and are often contrary to both common sense and the public record.”

[Featured Image by Charles Platiau, Pool/AP Images]