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Westmoreland: 'Snowden Is No Hero'

Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland Monday asserted that a three page executive summary of a two-year inquiry into Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures shows once and for all that Snowden ‘was not a hero’ but rather a ‘traitor.’
 
However, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who was one of the first to receive the whistle-blowing documents from Snowden has challenged the summary.
 
Former Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman called the report produced last week by the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, “aggressively dishonest.”
 
Edward Joseph Snowden is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and former contractor for the United States government who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without prior authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
 
“We looked into this for about two years— looking at the damage done and history of this guy,” Westmoreland, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, told WLBB Radio Monday. “This guy was just a con man. He lied about why he shred the documents. He lied on his resume. He actually broke into 127 of his co-workers computers to recover codes and such that we were using against foreign governments. There is no telling the billions of dollars that he has cost taxpayers. I know that some people looked at him as a hero. We just wanted to point out that this guy was not a hero; he is a traitor.”

The result of a two-year HPSCI inquiry, the report describes Snowden’s background, likely motivations, and methods of theft, as well as the damage done to U.S. national security as a result of his actions.

“Contrary to Snowden’s self-portrayal as a principled whistleblower, the report reveals that he was a disgruntled employee who had frequent conflicts with his managers and was reprimanded just two weeks before he began illegally downloading classified documents,” Westmoreland says. “Although he claims to have been motivated by privacy concerns, the report finds that Snowden did not voice such concerns to any oversight officials, and his actions infringed on the privacy of thousands of government employees and contractors. 

The report also alleges that Snowden’s actions did severe damage to U.S. national security, compromising the Intelligence Community’s anti-terror efforts and endangering the security of the American people as well as active-duty U.S. troops.

“Edward Snowden made a decision that did more damage to U.S. national security than any other individual in our nation’s history,” Westmoreland claimed. “Snowden must be prosecuted and he should receive the full punishment afforded by law for his actions.”

Meanwhile, The U.S. News & World Report confirms that a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says the House Intelligence Committee made surprisingly erroneous claims in the three-page executive summary of a report that denounces the exiled whistleblower.
 
Barton Gellman, the former Washington Post journalist who first reported some of the most explosive 2013 Snowden revelations about mass surveillance, says two details in the committee summary are demonstrably false and others arguably so.

The journalist disputes the accuracy of other assertions, such as Snowden exaggerating his position within the CIA, where he worked before ultimately becoming an NSA contractor, and that he doctored his performance evaluations.

The report was released on the eve of the premiere of Oliver Stone’s 'Snowden' film.

Gellman currently is writing a book about Snowden's disclosures and says he can't yet discuss how he acquired documents about his source's educational and medical history.

A national debate has begun on whether or not Snowden should be pardoned.
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