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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

National Security & Human Rights

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FACT: Snowden is a whistleblower. 

SUPPORT

  • Snowden gave information to the public, not a foreign government.
  • There is no evidence to support the false narrative that Snowden is a spy.

DETAIL

  1. First, he points out, he didn’t destroy his life to become a Russian asset. Second, he’s in Russia only because of the United States, which revoked his passport while he was en route to Latin America. Third, WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison has been by his side the whole time, in part to bear witness to the fact that he is not engaged in spying activity. Fourth, it is obvious that he chose to give information about NSA’s secret dragnet surveillance to the US people, not foreign adversaries. Fifth, and perhaps most significantly considering the contrary narrative promulgated in the United States, he has not had access to the information he revealed since he left Hong Kong.” Source: http://www.thenation.com/article/176717/my-visit-edward-snowden#

  2. "In the nine months since Snowden first surfaced, there has been intense speculation about his motives and methods. But “a senior F.B.I. official said on Sunday that it was still the bureau’s conclusion that Mr. Snowden acted alone,” the New York Times reported this weekend, adding that the agency has not publicly revealed any evidence that he was working in conjunction with any foreign intelligence agency or government.” Source: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/01/snowden-calls-russian-spy-story-absurd.html
  3. “According to senior intelligence officials, two uncertainties feed their greatest concerns. One is whether Russia or China managed to take the Snowden archive from his computer, a worst-case assumption for which three officials acknowledged there is no evidence.” Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-months-of-nsa-revelations-says-his-missions-accomplished/2013/12/23/49fc36de-6c1c-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html
  4. “Shortly thereafter, however, according to Feinstein and Rogers, the Russian secret police elaborated a nefarious plot to install Edward Snowden at an NSA contractor's facility in Hawaii, then spirit him off to Hong Kong, where he met with indie journalists, and then fly him to Moscow. The Russians are, in fact, so clever that they duped the US State Department into revoking Mr. Snowden's passport as he attempted to transit Russia, thus stranding him in the Moscow airport and forcing him to seek asylum there because he couldn't go anywhere else. By the way, this chain of events strongly suggests that the Russians also have a mole at the State Department conveniently canceling the passports of would-be "defectors" like Mr. Snowden, as soon as they arrive in Moscow. . . .But wait. If the Russians are such a menace, why is the US government making it impossible for Mr. Snowden to leave Russia?” Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bea-edwards/feinstein--rogers-blame-b_b_4644100.html

FACT: There were no internal channels for Snowden to use.

SUPPORT

NSA Whistleblowers Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Diane Roark went through internal channels, and became targets of an Espionage Act investigation.

DETAIL

“Not only did going through proper channels provide no meaningful redress to the five whistleblowers’ complaints, it gravely injured them. Drake lost his job, security clearance, and income stream, while simultaneously incurring half a million dollars in legal debt. And that was just during the investigatory phase. By the time of his indictment, he was declared indigent. Today, he works as a wage-grade employee at an Apple computer store, a far cry from his six-figure job at NSA.  Drake’s story puts the lie to the notion that internal channels serve as anything other than a trap for unwitting whistleblowers. What is so revealing is that if Snowden had gone through internal channels, the outcome would have been worse: the United States would have charged him with espionage and he’d be in jail for, in essence, spying on his own country on behalf of the public. It should not require martyrdom for a free citizen to challenge government abuses of power. It should not require choosing one’s conscience over one’s career, citizenship, or freedom.” Source: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/16/how_to_trap_a_whistleblower/

FACT: Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial in the US.

SUPPORT

There is no public interest defense to Espionage Act charges.

DETAIL

  1. “Mr. Snowden has already been charged under an arcane World War I law called the Espionage Act of 1917, just as Mr. Drake, Kiriakou and Manning were for revealing information about surveillance, torture and war crimes, respectively. Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, was the first American charged under the law for "leaking" national-defense information in 1971. The Obama administration has charged more whistleblowers with mishandling secret information under the Espionage Act—a total of seven, so far—than all previous presidents combined.” Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303595404579318884005698684 (Link to full article.)
  2. “If Edward Snowden comes back to the US to face trial, he likely will not be able to tell a jury why he did what he did, and what happened because of his actions. Contrary to common sense, there is no public interest exception to the Espionage Act. Prosecutors in recent cases have convinced courts that the intent of the leaker, the value of leaks to the public, and the lack of harm caused by the leaks are irrelevant—and are therefore inadmissible in court.” Source: https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/blog/2013/12/if-snowden-returned-us-trial-all-whistleblower-evidence-would-likely-be-inadmissible

FACT: Snowden revelations have not caused harm to National Security.

SUPPORT

Journalists entrusted with data clear all revelations with government first.

DETAIL

  1. “Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal. Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-months-of-nsa-revelations-says-his-missions-accomplished/2013/12/23/49fc36de-6c1c-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html
  2. “[Snowden] added that he did not control what the journalists who had the documents wrote about. He said that he handed over the documents to them because he wanted his own bias “divorced from the decision-making of publication,” and that “technical solutions were in place to ensure the work of the journalists couldn’t be interfered with.”” Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html?from=homepage