Review of Edward Snowden Intelligence Leaks

Amid the political news of the last two months, a report issued on December 23, 2016, by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about Edward Snowden has not had much attention. Titled “Review of the Unauthorized Disclosures of Former National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden,” the report states that Snowden’s 2013 theft of 1.5 million government intelligence records was “the largest and most damaging public release of classified information in U.S. intelligence history.” Snowden has remained in Russia since he fled there on June 23, 2013. Declassified sections of the report conclude that “the public narrative cultivated by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions.” The report also found that Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security, and the vast majority of the documents he stole have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests – they pertain instead to military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s adversaries.”

Snowden responded to the report in a series of Tweets, posted on the Russian internet news outlet
“Unsurprising that HPSCI’s report is rifled [sic] with obvious falsehoods. The only surprise is how accidentally exonerating it is.
“After three years of investigation and millions of dollars, they can present no evidence of harmful intent, foreign influence, or harm. Wow.”
Supporters of Snowden have been seeking a pardon for him from President Obama.

In a Dec. 22, 2016, article in The Wall Street Journal, however, Edward J. Epstein, who is publishing a book on Snowden this month, said, “[a]s became clear during my investigation over the past three years, nearly every element of the narrative Mr. Snowden has provided, which reached its final iteration in Oliver Stone’s 2016 movie, ‘Snowden,’ is demonstrably false.”

Related Reading:
Editorial, No Pardon for Edward Snowden, The Washington Post, Sept. 17, 2016,

Edward J. Epstein, The Fable of Edward Snowden, The Wall Street Journal, updated Dec. 30, 2016,  (available to Pace users through Lexis Advance).

Charlie Savage, House Report, Evidence Redacted, Ties Snowden to Russian Agencies, N.Y. Times, Dec. 22, 2016,

Jenna McLaughlin, Newly Declassified House Intel Report on Snowden is “Rifled With Obvious Falsehoods,” The, Dec. 23, 2016,

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