House Intelligence Committee's List Of 'Snowden's Lies' Almost Entirely False

from the and-it-took-'em-two-years dept

So, last week, I wrote up a long analysis of the House Intelligence Committee’s ridiculous smear campaign against Ed Snowden, highlighting a bunch of misleading to false statements that the report made in trying to undermine Snowden’s credibility as he seeks a pardon from President Obama. The Committee insisted that it had spent two years working on the report, but it seems like maybe they just needed all that time because they couldn’t find any actual dirt on Snowden.

In my analysis, I pointed to some of Snowden’s public responses, highlighting how the House Intel Committee was either completely misinformed or lying about Snowden. But Barton Gellman, one of the four reporters who Snowden originally gave his documents to, and who has done some amazing reporting on the Snowden leaks (not to mention, who is writing a book about Snowden) has responded to the report as well, and highlights just how incredibly dishonest the report is.

Gellman focuses on just one section — the weird section that tries to make out Snowden as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator.” Here’s that paragraph again:

Fourth, Snowden was, and remains, a serial exaggerator and fabricator. A close review of Snowden’s official employment records and submissions reveals a pattern of intentional lying. He claimed to have left Army basic training because of broken legs when in fact he washed out because of shin splints. He claimed to have obtained a high school degree equivalent when in fact he never did. He claimed to have worked for the CIA as a “senior advisor,” which was a gross exaggeration of his entry-level duties as a computer technician. He also doctored his performance evaluations and obtained new positions at NSA by exaggerating his resume and stealing the answers to an employment test. In May 2013, Snowden informed his supervisor that he would be out of the office to receive treatment for worsening epilepsy. In reality, he was on his way to Hong Kong with stolen secrets.

As we noted on Friday, Snowden disputed almost everything in this paragraph, saying that it would be “extremely unwise” for them to say he didn’t have a GED, and (more importantly) pointed out that it wasn’t shin splints that kept him out of the Army, and that the “doctored performance evaluation” was actually him showing (as requested by his managers) a “proof of concept” of a vulnerability in the CIA’s computer system.

Gellman takes all of these points even deeper and debunks the House Intelligence Committee’s findings with checkable facts. The “shin splints” claim? Gellman has reviewed Snowden’s Army paperwork. It wasn’t shin splints.

This is verifiably false for anyone who, as the committee asserts it did, performs a ?close review of Snowden?s official employment records.? Snowden?s Army paperwork, some of which I have examined, says he met the demanding standards of an 18X Special Forces recruit and mustered into the Army on June 3, 2004. The diagnosis that led to his discharge, on crutches, was bilateral tibial stress fractures.

A shin splint comes from the muscles and bone tissue around the tibia being overworked, often by repetitive injury. It’s true that tibia stress fractures are sometimes confused with shin splints, but an actual fracture is much more serious (and doctors will sometimes check to see if shin splints are really a stress fracture if they’re not going away). If Snowden was in the hospital and on crutches with bilateral tibial stress fractures, that’s way past shin splints. The House Intel Committee was either lied to or is lying here to the public — ironically in the section they claim is about Snowden’s fabrications and exaggerations.

How about the claim that he never got his GED? It turns out that Gellman actually has the evidence:

I do not know how the committee could get this one wrong in good faith. According to the official Maryland State Department of Education test report, which I have reviewed, Snowden sat for the high school equivalency test on May 4, 2004. He needed a score of 2250 to pass. He scored 3550. His Diploma No. 269403 was dated June 2, 2004, the same month he would have graduated had he returned to Arundel High School after losing his sophomore year to mononucleosis. In the interim, he took courses at Anne Arundel Community College.

So, again, in the section on fabrications and exaggerations, the House Intel Committee appears to be the one fabricating stuff. It again raises the question of whether or not they were lied to or just failed to do basic due diligence into the truth of the claim.

What about the claim about his level in the CIA? Again, Gellman to the rescue with evidence:

Judge for yourself. Here are the three main roles Snowden played at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (1) His entry level position, as a contractor, was system administrator (one among several) of the agency?s Washington metropolitan area network. (2) After that he was selected for and spent six months in training as a telecommunications information security officer, responsible for all classified technology in U.S. embassies overseas. The CIA deployed him to Geneva under diplomatic cover, complete with an alias identity and a badge describing him as a State Department attache. (3) In his third CIA job, the title on his Dell business card was ?solutions consultant / cyber referent? for the intelligence community writ large?the company?s principal point of contact for cyber contracts and proposals. In that role, Snowden met regularly with the chiefs and deputy chiefs of the CIA?s technical branches to talk through their cutting edge computer needs.

Gellman also has more detail on that whole “doctoring his performance evaluation” claim, noting how the House Intel Committee was clearly exaggerating the truth:

Truly deceptive, this. I will tell the story in my book. Suffice to say that Snowden discovered and reported a security hole in the CIA?s human resources intranet page. With his supervisor?s permission, he made a benign demonstration of how a hostile actor could take control. He did not change the content of his performance evaluation. He changed the way it displayed on screen.

Gellman has a few more in his post as well, but the short version is that “four of the six claims are egregiously false, and a fifth is hard to credit.” Oh, and the one “true” claim? That he lied to his bosses saying he was going for epilepsy treatment when he was really heading off to hand over the files to reporters.

And so we’re left with the question: how the hell did the House Intelligence Committee spend two years… to get everything so incredibly wrong? And will anyone actually call them on this?

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Comments on “House Intelligence Committee's List Of 'Snowden's Lies' Almost Entirely False”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

Just look at Obama and Hillary when they lied about Benghazi being an attack as the result of a YouTube video. That was debunked almost immediately and yet Hillary and Obama continued the lie for weeks. Obama even stated it in front of the UN after it was exposed. Habitual liars main lie is to themselves in that they believe nobody will know they are lying.

Ninja (profile) says:

how the hell did the House Intelligence Committee spend two years… to get everything so incredibly wrong? And will anyone actually call them on this?

And it’s the wrong question. The real one they are asking each other is “Why did they fabricate things with the deliberate intent of smearing Snowden on top of things that are so easily verifiable?”

This is the propaganda machine working. Except that today it’s way harder to hide the truth.

JustShutUpAndObey says:

How it works

1. Create an official record.
2. Promote it as authoritative.
3. Rely on lack of investigative journalism /or/ lack of trust in journalistic integrity so that alternate sources may be devalued/discredited.
4. Wait for alternate sources to be forgotten (relying on the better persistence of the “Official” record.
5. The desired history has been fabricated – SUCCESS!

Dave Cortright says:


Look, it’s great that Snowden turned out to be a nearly impeccable character that his opponents have to resort to lies and serious distortions to discredit him. But even if the guy were a drug addict with a penchant for young boys, THAT DOES NOT IN ANY WAY CHANGE THE *FACTS* OF THE MATTER AT HAND.

This whole report is just a pathetic attempt at redirection, focusing on the messenger rather than the message. And more to the point (which Greenwald astutely pointed out in his piece), Snowden was not the one who made this information public. If anyone should be scrutinized by the government it is the JOURNALISTS and their institutions who analyzed the information he provided and independently determined it to be newsworthy.

Fuck the oxymorons on the House Intelligence Committee. I hope the next leak FUBARs each and every one of their personal and professional lives commensurate with the bullshit our government has put all of the previous intelligence whistleblowers combined.

art guerrilla (profile) says:


the first point you made is extremely important, in that The They often use flawed or troubled individuals (NOT saying so in snowdens case, just the opposite, which IS a problem for The They) to do the on-the-ground dirty work, such that if they did get found out or decide to go public, they can be easily discredited and dismissed by Empire…
you know, a lone nut…

Anonymous Coward says:


After Snowden, it is likely that the “insider threat” screening process will make sure that only the weirdest, most talentless tools actually make it into the alphabet bandit agencies. They should have more dirt about academic failure, a history of mental illness etc for the next leaker.

John Mayor says:


Ha, ha, ha!… snork, snork!… so these geniuses let a “less than GED qualified” fabricator and snitch, become a CIA OPERATIVE! If this were AT ALL true, what does that say about “American Intelligence”? What a LOAD! Simply put, the WORSE these guys attempt to make Snowden look, the WORSE they make “American Intelligence” look! I think it’s time these guys “stuck a cork in it”!
Please!… no emails!

Anonymous Coward says:

Ironically enough...

This is the first sentence about the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on their “about the chairman” page:

Devin Nunes joined the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2011 and became committee chairman in 2015. He is a long-standing believer that a constant flow of reliable intelligence is crucial to strengthening America’s security posture, and that the Intelligence Community’s activities must be subject to strict congressional scrutiny.

Peter (profile) says:

Maybe the committee did not think this through before writing their report: The report tells us a lot more about the state of the American security apparatus thsn about Snowden.
Imagine what a qualified hostile hacker could do if a Highschool failure, army dropout and unreliable employee can walk away with the nations secrets, and the worst the United States of America can do to him is have some clueless politicians write a petty report.

Anonymous Coward says:

Deny, Degrade, Disrupt, Deceive

Hardly surprising. Their rule book is pretty clear when it comes to trying to manipulate public opinion, when faced with criticism.

It’s easy to pick sides in this fight.

On one hand you have an organization that will use what they refer too as the 4 D’s to gain public support.

On the other side you have a person who gave up everything to expose the crimes of the aforementioned organizations.

Yep, hard decision, especially since James Clapper lied under oath to congress about their illegal spying on millions of Americans, and is still free, never having faced any criminal charges.

jeff says:


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Jeff Chiacchieri
Just now ·

A Pardon for Snowden and all like him will not come from this oathless puppet government. When Snowden revealed the unconstitutional mass surveillance being conducted by the NSA, he provided a public service to the people.

Under US National Security law over 5,000 classified devices are currently covered by the US Inventions Secrecy Act. Thousands of secret devices work with appx 20,000 satellites circling Earth and a countless array of wireless devices and supercomputers that work in with them on earth. The agencies and military that rely on covert activities as a matter of “National Security”are covertly and remotely taking control of people and organizations as they see fit for a world government plan, without challenge. These technologies work with the mass surveillance systems exposed by Edward Snowden, other whistleblowers and activists trying to expose to the masses agencies that are all seeing, all knowing, promoting themselves and their usefulness in the name of “the peoples” security. To understand the real world you must gain insight in the practices of secret services and the military. Edward Snowden and others exposed for us they work outside the law. And they perform experiments and war crimes against ordinary innocent civilians going back to operation paperclip just after WW-2. Snowden leaked as of April 2013, the US spy agency had 117,675 active surveillance targets. Thats keeping the world on the globalist path to a United World. They only focus on public figures, writers, activists and whistleblowers. This is why they do not prevent terrorist attacks.

Legitimizing Snowden would directly lead to understanding todays world the framework is currently being put in place where microwaves and the entire electromagnetic spectrum is becoming the foundation to change/control all “the people” globally. Wireless/wi-fi pulse frequencies/microwaves is taking us all to Full Spectrum Dominance. This exposes the MAIN purpose of “the people” having cell phones, computers and wi-fi working with chemtrails sprayed in the skies using HAARP to stimulate the sprayed conductive toxic medals. Chemtrails are not only for geoengineering the planet, they also created an atmosphere that support electromagnetic waves to be used for human control.
Everything discovered since the research that began through operation paperclip through the cold war and beyond on the electromagnetic spectrum is being used to control people/populations, so understand its framework for world government. Whats underway by 2030 will allow Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism to not just maintain the historic Hive Mind of populations, but take it to a new horrific level by 2050 for the masses to be utilized (enslaved) for the elite like never before in history in the future united world.

In 2008 Obama spewed he would represent transparency in government and he has done the opposite as Obama’s administration has proven record of prosecuting whistleblowers, . Edward Snowden has paid the price for his commitment to transparency in the U.S. Government by being forced by this puppet Government to remain forced to live in exile.

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