“Edward Snowden, hero or traitor?”
Great question to pose at a Presidential debate, it turned out.
Hillary’s answer was basically “traitor.” He could have gone through channels and had whistleblower protection, she explained. And some of the information he released “got into the wrong hands.” And he “fled to Russia.”
Wrong, wrong and wrong. Hillary’s answer was a scripted message to the national security establishment: “You have nothing to fear from a Hillary Clinton presidency. Keep those contributions coming.”
John Kiriakou at OtherWords dispenses with two of Hillary’s falsehoods:
Clinton claimed that Snowden would have enjoyed protection from the Whistleblower Protection Act if he’d remained in the United States to make his revelations.
I’m disappointed, frankly, that somebody running for president of the United States doesn’t know that the Whistleblower Protection Act exempts national security whistleblowers. There are no protections for you if you work for the CIA, NSA, or other federal intelligence agencies — or serve them as a contractor. You take a grave personal risk if you decide to report wrongdoing, and there’s nobody who can protect you.
Finally, let’s get this straight: Snowden didn’t “flee to Russia.” Snowden stopped in Moscow on his way from Hong Kong to South America when Secretary of State John Kerry revoked his U.S. passport. Snowden never intended to move to Moscow. Kerry made that decision for him.
As for “information getting into the wrong hands” canard, Snowden actually took steps to make sure that did not happen. He went to responsible journalists and let them make the call what to release into the public sphere. That’s exactly what we want someone in Snowden’s position to do. There’s a delicate balancing act here. We want a media that has access to confidential information when the public interest requires it. The necessary trade-off is that the media, not the source, takes responsibility for what is released. Otherwise, we have little protection from government excess.
Snowden has fallen off the national radar, so many don’t consider this matter an important debate question. Hillary knew this, so she scripted an answer that was an obvious sop to the national security establishment. Her willingness to pander to that group should be a concern to anyone who cherishes privacy rights.
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