House Report: 'Serial Fabricator' Snowden Talks to Russian Spy Agencies

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden Charles Platiau/AP

Edward Snowden called the report “unintentionally exonerating."

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is a serial fabricator who may be spilling secrets to Russian intelligence service, rather than a principled whistleblower, according to a House Intelligence Committee report released today.

The heavily redacted bipartisan report does not offer proof of its claim that Snowden has been in contact with Russian intelligence officials. An unclassified executive summary, released in September, when the committee approved the report, does not include that claim.

Snowden, who currently resides in Russia, called the report “rifled with obvious falsehoods” in a series of tweets and criticized lawmakers for omitting his criticism of Russian policy.

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Lawmakers also expressed concern in the report that another renegade intelligence employee or contractor could do similar damage.

Some security upgrades recommended to NSA in the wake of the 2013 Snowden disclosure have not been implemented three years later, the report notes, and the CIA has not fully updated access controls for privileged users of some of its classified systems.

The report paints Snowden as a problem employee who was driven to leak information because of conflicts with NSA managers and workplace disputes, rather than ethical qualms about U.S. intelligence gathering.

Snowden searched human resources information about people involved in hiring decisions for a job he applied for and may have cheated on a test for promotion to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations office, the report claims.

The report also goes into great detail about some workplace disputes, noting, for example, that Snowden added senior-level employees to an email chain during a conflict with a mid-level supervisor.

Snowden called the report “unintentionally exonerating,” saying his conflicts with superiors demonstrate his commitment to the proper functioning of intelligence operations, including reporting unfixed computer vulnerabilities.

“They document me going, again and again—over years, despite punishments—to superiors to report complaints of waste, fraud, and abuse,” he tweeted, adding later: "Was I a pain in the ass to work with? Perhaps; many technologists are. But this report establishes no worse."

“The American people can now get a fuller account of Edward Snowden’s crimes and the reckless disregard he has shown for U.S. national security, including the safety of American servicemen and women,” House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a statement. 

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