Heads of the House Intelligence Commitee said yesterday that Edward Snowden is lying about his access to and the nature of the domestic secret surveillance program he revealed last week. Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) (R-MI) and senior Democrat Rep Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) reported that Snowden was in no position to obtain the content of communications through the NSA.
“He was lying,” Rogers said. “He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he’s even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
“He’s done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated,” Ruppersberger said.
Rogers said they do not know how much additional information Snowden might possess. Attention is now focused on Snowden’s possible relationships with foreign countries. “Rogers said investigators are also trying to determine whether Snowden has any relationship with foreign governments — something national security officials don’t know yet, he said.”
Both Rogers and Ruppersberger had harsh words for Snowden. “There should be no [question] in anyone’s mind that this person is a traitor to the United States of America, and he should be punished,” Rogers said.
“Some people are saying that he’s a hero. He’s broken the law,” Ruppersberger said. “We have laws in the United States for whistle-blowers, for people that think there’s an injustice being done. All he had to do was raise his hand. … Under the whistle-blower law, he is protected. Yet he chose to go to China.”
Snowden is presumably still in Hong Kong, where he fled after revealing himself as the source of leaks to the Guardian and Washington Post.