The US House Intelligence Committee is slated to meet to discuss a classified report on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden just days prior to the release of the Oliver Stone-directed Snowden biopic. The congressional meeting will be held on 15 September, while the movie Snowden is slated to hit theatres on 16 September in the US.
The meeting is being held to discuss the former CIA employee and the unauthorised disclosures that came to light after Snowden provided journalists with a trove of classified documents detailing the US government's questionable surveillance activities. The intelligence panel will also be discussing a classified report, collated by intelligence staff and believed to be the outcome of "around two years" of work.
According to Jack Langer, director of communications for Committee Chair, the congressional committee may publish an unclassified executive summary of the top-secret report. However, there are currently no specific plans on holding public hearings about the contents of the report or releasing it to the public, the Intercept reported.
Langer denied any connection between the timing of the intelligence committee meeting and rumours of Snowden's possible return to the US, to either be pardoned or face trial, asserting that the two events were unrelated. Langer also refused to comment on whether the committee would be discussing the much-anticipated Snowden movie, which also happens to coincide with the meeting.
In 2014, the then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep Mike Rogers, R-Mich, claimed that Snowden may have had help from Russian intelligence in both leaking the cache of classified documents as well as escaping US prosecution. However, he provided no evidence to back his claims. Snowden has maintained that he had no plans of staying in Russia, adding that he did not carry any of the leaked documents with him to Russia. It is still unclear if the committee will include possible connections to Russia in its upcoming meeting and investigations.
Coincidentally, prominent human rights groups including ACLU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all set to launch an official campaign on 14 September, urging President Barack Obama to pardon the whistleblower over his disclosures. The campaign is slated to be kicked off in an event in New York, where Snowden is scheduled to make a virtual appearance and speak via live stream video from Moscow.