Edward Snowden, the former contract analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who fled after leaking classified documents to journalists, has expressed a desire to return to the United States, provided he is guaranteed a fair trial for his crimes.
Snowden, who joined the CIA in 2006, and enjoyed a short career as an employee or contract employee with the intelligence services of the United States and eventually fled after leaking classified documents related to surveillance programs, has expressed a desire to return home and face trial. Snowden worked in Switzerland, Hawaii, Japan and Maryland where he earned a reputation as a cyber-intelligence expert and specialist in cyber surveillance.
Prior to his flight, his last assignment was with contractor Boze Allen Hamilton, where he was trusted with hacking into global Internet and telephone traffic and where he found his greatest trove of classified documents. In May 2013, Snowden broke for Hong Kong after leaking documents, primarily to Guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald. Since fleeing, Snowden found sanctuary in Russia, which has repeatedly refused to allow his extradition.
As Snowden cobbled together a cache of documents prior to his flight, he tirelessly labored to construct a narrative in which he was an enlightened and progressive government employee besieged by his conscience, driven by principles and the utter justice of his cause, his pleas for cooperation were vilified or disregarded by superiors, was left with little room to maneuver and fleeing was his only alternative, was unabashedly devoted to the United States, and his primary goal in exposing American deception was for the benefit of his countrymen.
Snowden is in a fair amount of trouble and his account for his duplicity is a brazen lie concocted to posture himself as a dignified whistleblower.
A curious display of his deception was his flight: Despite a chorus line of whistleblowers of which he could have joined, many of whom had worked in government positions for decades as opposed to Snowden’s handful of years, Snowden took flight uttering concern his employment as a contractor did not provide him with adequate legal protection and never spoke of the blatant violation of his oath not to reveal classified documents. Despite a signed vow not to disclose classified information, Snowden’s decision to escape abroad was impelled by the vast ramifications and penalties he faced should he violate the pledge.
Current U.S. law does provide some form of sanctuary and would have elicited sympathy and applause among individuals and legal organizations granting legal counsel to whistleblowers. Snowden’s ethically-unacceptable behavior is driven less by principle than for his own self-aggrandizement and should be viewed as yet another dastardly attack on American intelligence capabilities.
Now Snowden finds himself battling a jungle and personal demons he finds loitering therein. What Snowden never considered is the necessity for the United States, in a dangerous world, not allowing our tactics to be any less ruthless than those of the opposition. Another obvious indicator of character: Snowden appears untainted by remorse and his actions appear to be inspired by a drive to find a place in history.
While there are some who would rapture the opportunity to deliver justice with an unholy elation, Snowden will get a fair trial should he return. What Snowden fears most is the lengthy prison sentence which awaits for his shabby betrayal.