2016 election, China, Citizenship, defense, Espionage, Espionage Act, hacking, Hong Kong, IC, IC contractors, IC WPA, intelligence, intelligence activities, intelligence community, Kremlin, military, NSA, PRISM, privacy, Putin, Reality Winner, Republican oversight, review of documents stolen by Snowden, Russia, Russian interference, Snowden, Spying, stolen intelligence documents, terrorists, unauthorized disclosures, US House Intelligence Committee, US House Intelligence Committee Republican led review of Snowden disclosures, US Troops
A “Review of the Unauthorized Disclosures of former National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden” was done under the supervision of a Republican House Majority. It was a bipartisan effort.
According to the review, “the vast majority” of the 1.5 million documents stolen by Snowden “have nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests–they instead pertain to military, defense, and intelligence programs of great interest to America’s adversaries. A review of the materials Snowden compromised makes clear that he handed over secrets that protect American troops overseas and secrets that provide vital defenses against terrorists and nation-states. Some of Snowden’s disclosures exacerbated and accelerated existing trends that diminished the IC’s capabilities to collect against legitimate foreign intelligence…. He obtained his colleagues’ security credentials through misleading means, abused his access as a access as a systems administrator to search his co-workers’ personal drives, and removed the personally identifiable information of thousands of IC employees and contractors. From Hong Kong he went to Russia, where he remains a guest of the Kremlin to this day…” https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt891/CRPT-114hrpt891.pdf
Prism overview – 1 document, 11 pages. To leak this information, it wasn’t necessary to leak any documents, and certainly not more than this one: https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/813847/prism.pdf 1,500,000 documents minus 1 is 1,499,999.
“Since Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, he has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services…. and in June 2016, the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s defense and security committee asserted that “Snowden did share intelligence” with his government [ ]
(U) What Did Snowden Take?
In light of the volume at stake, it is likely that even Snowden does not know the full contents of all 1.5 million documents he removed.
(U) One thing that is clear, however, is that the IC documents disclosed in public are merely the tip of the iceberg.
As of August 19, 2016, press outlets had published or referenced [ ] taken by Snowden. This represents less than one-tenth of one percent of the nearly 1.5 million documents the IC assesses Snowden removed.”
Unlike Snowden, Reality Winner stayed in the United States and served four years in prison for exposing “how Russian military officials hacked into at least one supplier of voting software and attempted to breach at least 100 local election systems during the 2016 election.” She’s still on probation until November of 2024 and “is not allowed to leave southern Texas, has a curfew and must note any interaction with the media”. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/15/reality-winner-donald-trump-documents-incredibly-ironic
Furthermore, according to the review, “Despite Snowden’s later public claim that he would have faced retribution for voicing concerns about intelligence activities, the Committee found that laws and regulations in effect at the time of Snowden’s actions afforded him protection. The Committee routinely receives disclosures from IC contractors pursuant to the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (IC WPA). If Snowden had been worried about possible retaliation for voicing concerns about NSA activities, he could have made a disclosure to the Committee. He did not. Nor did Snowden remain in the United States to face the legal consequences of his actions, contrary to the tradition of civil disobedience he professes to embrace. Instead, he fled to China and Russia, two countries whose governments place scant value on their citizens’ privacy or civil liberties-and whose intelligence services aggressively collect information on both the United States and their own citizens.
(U) To gather the files he took with him when he left the country for Hong Kong,
Snowden infringed on the privacy of thousands of government employees and contractors. He obtained his colleagues’ security credentials through misleading means, abused his access as a access as a systems administrator to search his co-workers’ personal drives, and removed the personally identifiable information of thousands of IC employees and contractors. From Hong Kong he went to Russia, where he remains a guest of the Kremlin to this day.
…. It is also not clear Snowden understood the numerous privacy protections that govern the activities of the IC. He failed basic annual training for NSA employees on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and complained the training was rigged to be overly difficult. This training included explanations of the privacy protections related to the PRISM program that Snowden would later disclose.
(U) Third, two weeks before Snowden began mass downloads of classified documents, he was reprimanded after engaging in a workplace spat with NSA managers. Snowden was repeatedly counseled by his managers regarding his behavior at work. For example, in June 2012, Snowden became involved in a fiery e-mail argument with a supervisor about how computer updates should be managed…
Despite Snowden’s later claim that the March 2013 congressional testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was a “breaking point” for him, these mass downloads predated Director Clapper’s testimony by eight months….”
“U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 114TH CONGRESS 2d Session REPORT 2016 114–891 Union Calendar No. 701 REVIEW OF THE UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURES OF FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY CONTRACTOR EDWARD SNOWDEN BY THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE FOR THE ONE HUNDRED FOURTEENTH CONGRESS DECEMBER 23, 2016.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt891/CRPT-114hrpt891.pdf
“Reality Winner says she leaked file on Russia election hacking because ‘public was being lied to’ Former NSA contractor says in interview ‘I knew it was secret … but I also knew that I had pledged service to the American people’” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/25/reality-winner-leaked-file-on-russia-election-hacking-because-public-was-being-lied-to
“Edward Snowden’s true permanent record: A disgruntled employee rather than a principled whistleblower, his disclosures endangered lives“ https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/8/edward-snowdens-true-permanent-record/
“Anti-NSA campaign reaches Capitol Hill” By Cliff Kincaid https://www.aim.org/aim-column/anti-nsa-campaign-reaches-capitol-hill/
Unlike Snowden, Reality Winner stayed in the United States and served four years in prison for leaking one document: “While working as a national security contractor in Fort Gordon, Georgia, in 2017, Winner printed out a document that detailed how Russian military officials hacked into at least one supplier of voting software and attempted to breach at least 100 local election systems during the 2016 election. The document was labeled “Top Secret”. Winner took the document, which was later reported by the Intercept. An hour after the article was published, Winner was arrested at her Texas home and charged under the Espionage Act, a law created during the first world war…” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/15/reality-winner-donald-trump-documents-incredibly-ironic The Intercept has been accused of intentionally exposing her identity (which they deny, of course.)
As explained in the US House Review, Snowden isn’t a whistle-blower:
“Snowden was not a whistleblower. Under the law, publicly revealing classified information does not qualify someone as a whistleblower. However, disclosing classified information that shows fraud, waste, abuse, or other illegal activity to the appropriate law enforcement or oversight personnel–including to Congress does make someone a whistleblower and affords them with critical protections. Contrary to his public claims that he notified numerous NSA 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 U.S. intelligence activities–legal, moral, or otherwise–to any oversight officials within the U.S. Government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so. Snowden was aware of these avenues. His only attempt to contact an NSA attorney revolved around a question about the legal precedence of executive orders, and his only contact to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Inspector General (IG) revolved around his disagreements with his managers about training and retention of information technology specialists.”https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt891/CRPT-114hrpt891.pdf
“Putin Grants Russian Citizenship To U.S. Surveillance Whistle-Blower Snowden“ https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-snowden-russian-citizenship/32053056.html
Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, whose leaks and international flight from U.S. justice nearly a decade ago highlighted top-secret U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts.
Snowden described his revelations as an effort to pull back the curtain on a legally dubious U.S. electronic-surveillance program.
He was among dozens of individuals named in Putin’s citizenship decree signed on September 26.
Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the Interfax news agency that his client will not be eligible for being called up in a partial mobilization for the war in Ukraine announced last week by Putin, since he had never served in the Russian Army.
After exposing the U.S. surveillance program, Snowden, now 39, fled the United States first to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was granted permanent residency.
Snowden is wanted in the United States on espionage charges.
The U.S. State Department said after the Kremlin announcement that it was unaware of any change in Snowden’s U.S. citizenship status.
State Department spokesman Ned Price added that the U.S. position on Snowden had not changed.
Snowden said in early November 2020 that he had applied for Russian citizenship while retaining his U.S. citizenship.
With reporting by Interfax and Reuters
Copyright (c)2022 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036” https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-snowden-russian-citizenship/32053056.html