Addressing viewers at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum through Google Hangout, former National Security Agency contract analyst Edward Snowden confessed he would be willing to return to the United States if assured of a fair trial by authorities.
“I’ve told the government I would return if they would guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public interest defense of why this was done and allow a jury to decide,” Snowden stated.
Following his flight from U.S. soil, which eventually saw him granted asylum in Russia, Snowden was charged in June 2013 with two counts of violating the Espionage Act, theft of government property and the willful transfer of classified material to unauthorized persons.
The NSA whistle-blower has also weighed in on the showdown between Apple and the FBI:
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 17, 2016
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 18, 2016
Snowden is facing up to 30 years in prison for his crimes.
From his refuge in Russia, Edward Snowden is once again attempting to dictate the terms of his return.
With this recent proposition, Snowden is only prolonging his legal jeopardy: For close to three years he has attempted to posture himself as a sympathetic figure, a man of unparalleled moral sense who was hounded from his job at Booz Allen Hamilton by conscienceless superiors. Initially living off donations, Snowden has developed a working life in Russia, alternatively earning money through website consulting and princely speaking fees where he often engages in sharp criticism of the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s global surveillance practices.
Should he return, part of Snowden’s uphill struggle will be making intelligible his behavior since arriving in his Moscow haven: Despite his insistence otherwise, Snowden may face further inspection for allegedly acting on behalf of the Russian government or cooperating with Russian intelligence after accepting status of “temporary refugee” in Moscow.
Snowden’s most glaring blunder abroad is his transformation: Imaginably a preconceived application to rehabilitate himself, the granting of numerous public addresses, constant Twitter presence and both television and newspaper interviews has moderately converted Snowden from a rogue into a pop culture icon, something he plays to his advantage, persevering with his peculiar habit of using an online presence to negotiate specifications of a return to the West.
Given the seriousness and far-reaching ramifications of his offenses, Mr. Snowden is in no position to impose conditions for his return to the States. Originally inquiring of the possibility for clemency, a stipulation altogether dismissed with justification by the Justice Department, Snowden is again appealing for a fair trial.
In both his tone and bearing, Edward Snowden more closely resembles a man comfortable enough in his current setting, but eager to return home provided he is the final arbiter of his crimes.
There is no reason to believe Snowden would not be subject to a fair trial.
[The Guardian] [Daily Mail] [digitalhistory.uh.edu] [Photo courtesy Daily Mail]