The New York Times Editorial Board is out with an opinion piece in support of ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, wherein they call him a “whistleblower” and ask the president to stop vilifying him for exposing alleged wrongdoings within the U.S. intelligence community.
The board writes that Snowden should be allowed to return home and be granted a plea bargain, “some form of clemency” or reduced punishment for doing his country “a great service.”
“If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistle-blower protection to the intelligence community for the first time,” The Times notes Obama said at a news conference. “So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.”
From the article:
In fact, that executive order did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Mr. Snowden. More important, Mr. Snowden told The Washington Post earlier this month that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the N.S.A., and that they took no action. (The N.S.A. says there is no evidence of this.) That’s almost certainly because the agency and its leaders don’t consider these collection programs to be an abuse and would never have acted on Mr. Snowden’s concerns.
In retrospect, Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. Beyond the mass collection of phone and Internet data, consider just a few of the violations he revealed or the legal actions he provoked:
The Times goes on to note a number of revelations pushed into public view, including Intelligence Chief James Clapper’s perjury in front of congress which was confirmed by Snowden’s leaks, and a judge ruling phone-records-collection as likely unconstitutional that’s “almost Orwellian.”
The editorial board of The Times hasn’t been too kind to the Obama administration in the wake of Snowden’s disclosures. In October, they ripped into the White House as “pathetic” for its continued defence of the NSA.
Now under temporary asylum in Moscow, Snowden’s future after a number a leaks that began on June 6, 2013 is far from certain. While stationed in Hawaii as a contractor for Booz Allen working for the NSA, he stole 200,000 documents detailing everything from the capture of U.S. phone call “metadata” to the infiltration of the cloud data of Google and Yahoo.
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