If Snowden Returned to US, All Whistleblower Evidence Would Likely Be Inadmissible

Kevin_Kennedy

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There seems to be a new talking point from government officials since a federal judge ruled NSA surveillance is likely unconstitutional last week: if Edward Snowden thinks he's a whistleblower, he should come back and stand trial.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on 60 Minutes Sunday, “We believe he should come back, he should be sent back, and he should have his day in court.” Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell made similar statements this weekend, as did Rep. Mike Rogers (while also making outright false claims about Snowden at the same time). Even NSA reform advocate Sen. Mark Udall said, "He ought to stand on his own two feet. He ought to make his case. Come home, make the case that somehow there was a higher purpose here.”

These statements belie a fundamental misunderstanding about how Espionage Act prosecutions work.
https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/...eblower-evidence-would-likely-be-inadmissible

- John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who was the first to go on-the-record with the media about waterboarding, pled guilty in his Espionage Act case last year partially because a judge ruled he couldn’t tell the jury about his lack of intent to harm the United States.

- In the ongoing leak trial of former State Department official Stephen Kim, the judge recently ruled that the prosecution “need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage U.S. national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially.” (emphasis added)

- In the Espionage Act case against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake (which later fell apart), the government filed two separate motions to make sure the words "whistleblowing" or "overclassification" would never be uttered at trial.

-In Chelsea Manning's trial this summer, Manning's defense wanted to argue she intended to inform the public, that the military was afflicted with a deep and unnecessary addiction to overclassification, and that the government’s own internal assessments showed she caused no real damage to U.S. interests. All this information was ruled inadmissible until sentencing. Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years in jail—longer than most actual spies under the Espionage Act.
https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/...nowden-would-be-barred-arguing-his-case-trial

So can we stop this nonsense about how Snowden should have his day in court, when he obviously would not receive anything resembling a fair trial?
 

Katzndogz

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At the very least, if he returned he would be prevented from exposing more of the government's criminal activity.

On that basis alone he should stay where he is and keep the information coming.
 
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Kevin_Kennedy

Kevin_Kennedy

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At the very least, if he returned he would be prevented from exposing more of the government's criminal activity.

On that basis alone he should stay where he is and keep the information coming.
He's not exposing anything at this point. It's the journalists who are doing the exposing now. He hasn't leaked any more information since he's been in Russia. That's part of his asylum deal with the Russian government.
 

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