Congressional report slams NSA leaker Edward Snowden

Posted September 16, 2016

Three human rights groups on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to pardon Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked secret documents about National Security Agency surveillance in 2013 and is living in Russian Federation as a fugitive from criminal charges.

The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor has been living in Russian Federation since 2013, shortly after he released information regarding mass phone and internet surveillance programmes carried out by the U.S. government under the auspices of the War on Terror.

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday will urge President Obama not to issue a pardon for former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Several prominent human rights groups have launched a campaign to convince President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden, who is living in exile in Russian Federation.

Gordon-Levitt said he related to Snowden's disillusionment with the United States government after watching National Intelligence director James Clapper deny, before a congressional committee, that the NSA was collecting records on millions of Americans.

The House of Representatives intelligence committee report declared that Snowden was "not a whistleblower" as he has claimed in interviews and that most of the material he stole from NSA outposts was about intelligence and defence programs of great interest to USA foreign adversaries.

"They've been using the same rhetoric about damage to national security for three and a half years and have produced absolutely no evidence of concrete harm", he said.

"I love my country", Snowden said.

"The vast majority of what he took has nothing to do with American privacy", said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

Photogenic and self-deprecating, Snowden fits the central casting image of a reluctant hero.

Edward Snowden has also set out the case for Barack Obama granting him a pardon before the USA president leaves office in January, arguing that the disclosing the scale of surveillance by United States and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off.

The Committee said Snowden infringed on the privacy of government employees and contractors with his leak and accused him of stealing his colleagues' security credentials.

The rights groups launched the campaign on the heels of a release of a biopic thriller, "Snowden", by anti-establishment director Oliver Stone. The campaign, supported by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and celebrities including actor Daniel Radcliffe, argues that Snowden sparked an important debate about government mass surveillance.

Snowden is a former computer professional who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and also was a contractor for the USA government.

The White House has not released a response to the campaign, but Obama has condemned Snowden's actions in the past, even after his former top lawyer, Eric Holder, acknowledged Snowden provided a "public service".