NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has hit out at a critical report by the House of Representatives intelligence committee.
The report rejected Edward Snowden’s view of himself as a whistleblower, and said he was a disgruntled employee whose actions did nothing more than help US enemies.
It comes a day after two rights groups launched a campaign for President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden.
The White House has rejected the possibility of a presidential pardon.
The release of the report, two years in the making, also coincides with that of the movie Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone.
In a series of tweets, Edward Snowden dismissed the report’s findings, writing: “Their report is so artlessly distorted that it would be amusing if it weren’t such a serious act of bad faith.”
Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, has been living in Russia since 2013, when he gained notoriety for releasing thousands of classified documents that revealed mass phone and internet surveillance put in place after the 9/11 attacks.
Releasing a summary of its 36-page investigation into the case, the House committee said Edward Snowden had fallen out with his colleagues and lied about his background while at the NSA.
The report says that most of the material Edward Snowden leaked related to military secrets that had nothing to do with Americans’ privacy but were to “protect American troops overseas and… provide vital defenses against terrorists and nation-states”.
Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union launched their “Pardon Snowden” campaign on September 14, urging President Barack Obama to do so before he leaves office in January 2017.
According to Amnesty, no-one should be prosecuted for exposing human rights violations, which, it claimed, is what “indiscriminate mass surveillance of communications” amounts to.
The ACLU acts as Edward Snowden’s legal adviser, and called him “a great American who deserves clemency for his patriotic acts”.
Icelandic lawmakers have put legislation on the table that would make NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a citizen of the polar country.
Member of Iceland’s parliament Ögmundur Jónasson first made the proposition this morning, the last day before the 63-member legislative body begins their summer leave.
Granting citizenship to Edward Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of U.S. surveillance activities would circumvent the rule that he must be on Icelandic soil to apply for asylum there.
The same tactic helped get eccentric chess master Bobby Fischer to Iceland from Japan in 2005 to escape U.S. prosecution for breaking sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia, according to 21st Century Wire.
Ögmundur Jónasson, whose liberal Left-Green Party is backing the proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee, but the idea received minimal support.
“We wanted to do this earlier,” wrote Pirate Party politician Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson on his Facebook page.
“But citizenship is an extremely delicate issue when it’s granted by parliament instead of granted through ordinary legal processes.”
Iceland’s parliament, known as Althing, saw three Pirate Party members elected in 2013. NPR billed the party as an “international online freedom movement”.
Ögmundur Jónasson argued to parliament on Thursday that Edward Snowden “is now being chased and has nowhere to go”, according to Icelandic media.
Icelandic lawmakers have put legislation on the table that would make NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a citizen of the polar country
Edward Snowden, 30, also has a friend in former Icelandic presidential candidate Asthor Magnusson, who is collecting signatures from Icelanders as part of a petition to make his a citizen.
“I appeal to the oldest parliament in the world, the Althing in Iceland to grant a citizenship to Edward Joseph Snowden and issue him with travel documents for safe passage to Reykjavik,” Asthor Magnusson wrote in an appeal to Parliament, according to RT News.
“As matters have developed, I think that Icelanders should say <<This is enough: We support open society and human rights>>. It’s a basic human right to grant this man asylum in Iceland.”
The ruling Conservative and Moderate parties could halt the bill. And some have speculated that the country’s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, could succumb to pressure purportedly being placed on international leaders by the U.S. government and veto the legislation.
Not surprisingly, Iceland also plays host to the website WikiLeaks, another well-known whistleblowing foe of the world’s intelligence community.
WikiLeaks has become a sort of public relations face for Edward Snowden, who remains in hiding.
On Monday, WikiLeaks released a letter they say was penned by Edward Snowden.
“I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many,” Edward Snowden wrote in closing.
Members of the Icelandic parliament, it seems, may be among those “many” taking efforts to help Edward Snowden.
For now, Edward Snowden is believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from more than a dozen countries.
Though stuck may be the wrong word. He is one of America’s most wanted fugitives, but it seems that Edward Snowden could be living in luxury at a hotel at a Moscow airport.
The Novotel Moscow Sheremetyevo picks travelers up from the airport, transports them in a bus and houses them on a sealed floor, ensuring that they never step on Russian soil.
It has a fitness centre, games room, library, Turkish/steam bath, and indoor pool.
The hotel is just 35 minutes from central Moscow and with 493 rooms, it is one of the largest in the area.
Venezuela emerged today as the country most likely to shelter NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden from US justice.
President Nicolás Maduro said he was “willing in principle” to grant Edward Snowden asylum, declaring: “He didn’t kill anyone or plant a bomb.”
Nicolás Maduro said that the NSA whistleblower had not made a formal application for refuge but that he deserved protection under international law.
But the Venezuelan president, who is in Russia on a state visit, batted down speculation that he could spirit the data analyst away to Venezuelan capital Caracas on his presidential jet when he leaves Russia tonight.
Edward Snowden, 30, has so far applied for asylum in 21 countries but faces a thinning list of options after Finland, India, Ecuador and Poland rejected his plea and a number of others said applications can only be made in person on their home soil.
President Nicolás Maduro said he was “willing in principle” to grant Edward Snowden asylum
In the most positive news yet for Edward Snowden, Nicolás Maduro said: “He did not kill anyone and he did not plant a bomb… He only said a big truth to prevent wars.”
His comments came after Edward Snowden has abandoned his bid for asylum in Russia, hours after president Vladimir Putin said he would only be welcome if he stopped leaking the secrets of “our American partners”.
WikiLeaks today revealed Edward Snowden has begged 21 countries to take him in as he fights extradition to the US where he faces charges of espionage after leaking top-secret documents on US surveillance schemes.
The list includes Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, Spain, Germany and Ireland.
“Snowden really asked to remain in Russia,” Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
“Learning yesterday of Russia’s position… he abandoned his intentions and his request to get the possibility to stay in Russia.”
Earlier, Vladimir Putin made it clear Russia would only consider his request if he stops “attacking our American partners” in an unusual gesture of solidarity with the US.
“Russia never hands over anybody anywhere and has no intention to do so,” said the Kremlin leader, defying a specific U.S. request.
“If he [Edward Snowden] wants to remain here there is one condition – he should stop his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners no matter how strange this may sound coming from me.”
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