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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:30am

    So, can we get rid of these traitors for lying under Oath, then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:38pm

      That's the problem.

      No one will prosecute these guys for lying under oath, so they will perjure all they want.

      Of course, slowly the US House is developing a relationship as being nothing but a bullshit factory where any statement that comes out of it has to be fact-checked before it's trusted.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:37am

    i'm torn but not rip torn. is this nation actually one big lie or is it one big advertisement?

    same thing, you say? at heart, i guess you have a point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:39am

    House Intelligence Committee


    I don't think it means what you think it means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeremy2020 (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      eh, they are aware that is you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough...

      Notice how there's no major media coverage of the lies? We have the "objectivity" of the press. Ya know, the whole "it's not my job to fact check statements, just report that someone said them".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:41am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:46am

      Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

      Let's be fair here. Obama doesn't write any of the speeches he gives and is probably completely unaware that most of what he says is BS.

      Don't assume malice when stupidity would adequately explain something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:49am

        Re: Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

        Obama's not dumb though.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

          Let me explain in D&D terms
          Obama
          INT 15
          WIS 5

          Smart, but he lacks common sense... as do most politicians.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Skeeter, 19 Sep 2016 @ 1:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

          OMG, you're counting on 'Captain Teleprompter' to see through this 'intelligence'? There's just something inherently wrong with this layered stack of enigmas you propose.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

        First off, they knew almost immediately it was an attack and not a protest gone awry. Second, the press and public knew the real story long before the speech at the UN. So yes, it was a deliberate lie.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2016 @ 7:00am

        Re: Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

        "Don't assume malice when stupidity would adequately explain something."

        I used to say that, until I realized how often stupidity is used as an excuse for genuine malice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 19 Sep 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re: 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.


      Wow, I've been online for over twenty-five years and that's the most flagrant "look over there!" I've ever seen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 4:11pm

      Re: Liars actually believe that nobody knows the truth

      Unfortunately, they know some people know the truth. They know the truth can be easily proved, and their claims could be debunked by even the most cursory of checks. They also know that a significant number of people are either too lazy to do a cursory check and or are willfully blind .

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:46am

    Most will believe the propaganda. Sadly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:58am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JustShutUpAndObey, 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:07am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:08am

    Ad Hominem, AD HOMINEM, AD FUCKING HOMINEM!

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:47am

      Re: Ad Hominem, AD HOMINEM, AD FUCKING HOMINEM!

      Plus twenty internets for correctly using the term ad hominem and making a hugely valid point with it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:56am

      Re: Ad Hominem, AD HOMINEM, AD FUCKING HOMINEM!

      THANK YOU !
      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...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 2:40pm

        Re: Re: Ad Hominem, AD HOMINEM, AD FUCKING HOMINEM!

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:09am

    What is true will entirely depend on how it turns out for Snowden. If he fails to get the pardon, US wins. In that case, Snowden did do all those things. History is written by the winners, not by the facts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:50am

      Re:

      A pardon is still problematic because it is saying "you did something wrong, but look, we will be all magnanimous and forgive you".

      They should issue a "we lied, we did wrong, we lied and lied some more, then we lied and persecuted you and lied some more when you exposed what everyone pretty much already knew".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adam, 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:09am

    ugh.

    I have to ask, is it more surprising when the US Government lies? or tells the truth? I'm actually more surprised when it's the latter... I expect them to lie now and the topic of Snowden has no different expectations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:16am

    I would go with they are lying to the public since they do that constantly with most everything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 9:20am

    Who's their audience?

    They made a classified version of the report - which means that they weren't writing for the public. Were they simply preaching to the choir?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:28am

    Hey, one out of six ain't bad, even if irrelevant.

    That's way of a better quota than the whole warrantless surveyance thing delivers.

    What was it again? In 10 years they managed to arrest 1 person who had sent $5000 or so to some terrorist sympathizing organisation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    z! (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:45am

    There's an error in the first sentence of the article- it should read "House Intransigence Committee".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:47am

    You don't understand...

    The 'Snowden Lies' are lies *about* Snowden, not *by* Snowden.
    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:51am

    IN THE DOGHOUSE AINTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 10:59am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 11:15am

    USA president in 2020: Snowden

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 12:47pm

    House Intelligence Committee? I think there's been a typo. Try, House Incompetence Committee. There, much more accurate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 12:56pm

    Lying is business as usual for our govt

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 1:04pm

    The terrorists have one. The question now is what the hell are we the people going to do about it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 2:12pm

      Re:

      considering they rule the government and use fear of the terrorism they fund create support and sometimes directly cause to happen to keep people in line.

      Will take a massacre of unarmed american civilians by state sponsored forces for the apathetic and disinterested people to care about what happens to more than just themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      Have two?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CIA, 19 Sep 2016 @ 2:22pm

    The Truth

    What actually happened is that Snowden hacked in to these databases and changed the records, like the devious Russian spy he is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 19 Sep 2016 @ 3:26pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 4:13pm

    House Intelligence Committee's List Of 'Snowden's Lies' full of lies

    There, FTFY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 19 Sep 2016 @ 8:00pm

    True, But. . .

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

    And with all the propaganda, it's even harder to get many people to believe the truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2016 @ 8:38am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jeff, 20 Sep 2016 @ 9:01am

    snowden

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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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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