WASHINGTON D.C. -- A House intelligence committee report onsays he’s not a whistleblower and that the vast majority of the documents he stole were military and defense secrets that had nothing to do with Americans’ privacy.
The committee on Thursday released a three-page unclassified summary of its two-year investigation into the Snowden case. The committee says that contrary to Snowden’s self-portrayal as a whistleblower, the report reveals that he was a “disgruntled employee who had frequent conflicts with his managers.”
The report comes as Snowden, living in Russia, seeks a presidential pardon because he says he helped his country by revealing secret domestic surveillance programs.
Snowden’s actions led to revelations about the NSA’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records.
Snowden said he believes he deserves to be forgiven for exposing “unconstitutional activities,” that were later either reined in or stopped after he brought them to light.
“I love my country,” Snowden said. “I love my family. I have dedicated my life to both of them.”
The former NSA contractor said whistleblowing is an important “check on abuses of power,” and is democracy’s “safeguard of last resort.” Snowden added that if he is immediately thrown in jail without due process, “it will have a chilling effect.”
When questioned about the timing of his public plea for a pardon, especially coming just before the release of the film about his life and before Mr. Obama leaves office early next year, Snowden and his backers insisted they were not all directly linked.
Snowden has previously said that he’d “volunteered to go to prison with the government many times,” but had not received a formal plea-deal offer.
Earlier this year, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said a plea deal with Snowden was a possibility.
Critics have said Snowden is a traitor, and that his disclosures harmed the ability of the United States and its allies to fight terrorism.
The White House said Tuesday President Barack Obama continues to believe that Snowden should return to the United States to face charges for leaking classified information.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday reiterated Mr. Obama’s position that Snowden’s leaks “damaged the United States,” harmed national security and put Americans at risk.
Earnest says Snowden will be “treated fairly and consistent with the law” if he returns to the U.S.