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

Rights groups launch campaign for Snowden pardon

Three leading human rights organization launched a campaign to try and persuade President Barack Obama to pardon National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden of his theft and espionage charges in the United States before he leaves office.

The report also says Snowden was a "serial exaggerator and fabricator" whose employment records showed "a pattern of intentional lying". Certainly timed to the film's release, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, along with celebrities and civil rights activists, are campaigning for President Obama to pardon Mr. Snowden, who has lived in exile in Russian Federation for the past three years.

In addition to the letter, the House committee also announced that it had unanimously voted to adopt the findings of its two-year investigative report on Snowden's actions.

In a teleconference on Wednesday, Mr Snowden said he ought to be pardoned for having exposed "unconstitutional activities" that have since been limited or discontinued in light of his revelations.

Alongside MacAskill, the site cites former Attorney General Eric Holder who said Snowden "provided a public service" by sparking a debate about surveillance and possible government overreach, though Holder believes that Snowden should face the criminal charges against him.

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Rep. Devin Nunez, R-Calif., said the timing of the report had nothing to do with Snowden's pardon effort, which has the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, along with a number of celebrities, the Intercept reported.

The campaign for a pardon includes a website, www.pardonsnowden.org, that people can use to write to the White House, and the groups ran ads in the Washington Post and Politico newspapers, saying Snowden exposed unlawful programs and prompted reforms.

Snowden has said he was moved to leak details of the NSA's capabilities because he was anxious about the privacy of American citizens, but the committee investigators concluded he began siphoning documents shortly after getting in a fight with his bosses in 2012.

"I love my country".

The committee asserted that Snowden "stole 1.5 million sensitive documents".

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US fugitive Edward Snowden said he believes the only way to prevent the government from spying on Americans is through the political process and forcing the presidential candidates to talk about privacy issues. "You know, not that many people have talked about the NSA, so this is really hard-earned research and I think it's very valid", said Stone.

Snowden, the new film from Oliver Stone about Edward Snowden, hits theaters on September 16 with preview screenings on September 15.

Naureen Shah, Amnesty International's director of human rights for the USA, brandished a photo of Snowden and said, "I think it's no exaggeration to say that this man changed the world".

"The Committee found no evidence that Snowden took any official effort to express concerns about USA intelligence activities - legal, moral, or otherwise - to any oversight officials within the US government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so".

The ACLU is fighting for Snowden and they are making a plea to Obama for the pardon.

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The committee's classified report is 36 pages, with 230 footnotes, but must remain secret "to avoid causing further harm to national security", the summary stated.

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