In Monday interview with Yahoo News, former Attorney General Eric Holder expressed the possibility NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, could return to the United States and a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with exists.
Mr. Holder, now a partner with Covington and Burling, where he litigates and specializes in both Government and Public Affairs and White Collar Defense and Investigation, stated he found Snowden’s activity, the release of documents revealing intelligence gathering techniques practiced, the bulk collection of phone records, by the National Security Agency “spurred a necessary debate.”
As Attorney General, Holder filed three felony counts for violating the Espionage Act for releasing a trove of documents over to Guardian journalist, Glen Greenwald; shortly after notifying Greenwald, Snowden initiated contact with documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s office responded to Holder’s remarks:
“This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed,” Melanie Newman said in an email.
Now a private citizen, Mr. Holder is entitled to express his personal opinion.
To his credit, while still serving as Attorney general, Mr. Holder dismissed the possibility of clemency for Snowden. In the time being, Edward Snowden’s attorney, Ben Wizner, has declared any return of his client should be free of consequence, tacitly stating no prison time would be acceptable to his client.
Accountability for Snowden’s outrageous conduct is imperative. While it can be successfully argued the NSA’s bulk collection program is an insidiously corrupting program, Snowden’s actions, his flight to, of all places, Russia, particularly, illustrate his motives were that of a villainous servant and fueled less by ideas or principle than by resentments.
Although Snowden has submitted to several interviews from Western journalists, most telling is his refusal to acknowledge the dire damage he committed to an American program which protects its citizens from terror threats which vow to do evil. Simultaneously, despite Snowden’s actions creating endless court challenges and having led to the curtailing of the bulk collection, Snowden glosses over recent but similar anti-terror applications by Australia, Canada and France, all of which have expanded surveillance measures to fight terrorism.
To gullible audiences, Snowden defines foreign governments’ expansion of surveillance as exploitative measures designed to commandeer powers which have never shown to prevent terror attacks. Snowden produces no such evidence surveillance programs are ineffective but remains committed to his self-righteous conviction they are simply missionary and intrusive schemes.
With worldly vanity, Snowden remains committed to constructing a narrative, where he is postured as a courtly whistleblower, a patriot and a thoroughly respectable gentleman. Driven by both misguided heroics and a lust for a gilded place in history, Snowden conveniently ignores his flight: His exodus uncovered his guilt, his intent to preserve his familiar world and maintain an unblemished reputation.
Snowden’s dodgy behavior should not go unpunished; an expectation of favor, advantage or immunity from punishment upon his return is patent nonsense. Snowden is neither a sage nor a visionary; further, Snowden is no patriot. A treacherous subject, Snowden may return to mobs of supporters demanding mercy, but the American justice system should not bust a gut for this utter and complete loser.
Snowden is untroubled by his actions.[Guardian] [RT] [aclu.org] [digitalhistory.uh.edu]