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Snowden's leaks caused 'tremendous' damage to US security: House panel

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow, Russia.
Barton Gellman | Getty Images
Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow, Russia.

A U.S. House committee issued a scathing report on Thursday accusing National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden of lying about his background, feuding with co-workers and leaking secrets that "caused tremendous damage" to U.S. security.

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee report declared that Snowden was "not a whistleblower" as he has claimed in interviews and that most of the material he stole from NSA outposts was about intelligence and defense programs of great interest to U.S. foreign adversaries.

The committee only released a four-page summary of what it said was a 36-page investigative report by committee staff that remains highly classified. But the summary contained strong words about Snowden's actions and background.

The committee said that while the "full scope" of damage caused by Snowden's disclosures remains unknown, a review of materials he allegedly compromised "makes clear that he handed over secrets that protect American troops overseas and secrets that provide vital defenses against terrorists and nation-states."

The House Committee's release of the report coincides with the release of "Snowden," a Hollywood movie directed by Oliver Stone, which portrays the former intelligence contractor as a whistleblower and hero.

On Wednesday, prominent human rights advocates publicly urged President Barack Obama to issue a pardon for Snowden before he leaves office — a suggestion Snowden himself made to the Guardian newspaper earlier in the week.

U.S. officials have said that Obama is not considering a pardon for Snowden, who is facing U.S. criminal charges for providing classified information to unauthorized persons, and that there is no discussion of such a pardon inside the Justice Department.