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Snowden sees no chance for fair trial in U.S.

19 Comments

Fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden said Thursday he has no plans to return to the United States, because he would have "no chance" for a fair trial.

"The hundred-year old law under which I've been charged... forbids a public interest defense," he said in a question-and-answer session on the "Free Snowden" website.

"This is especially frustrating, because it means there's no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury," he said.

The comments during the former National Security Agency contractor's first such public forum since June.

Snowden was asked about the conditions under which he would return to the United States, where he faces espionage charges for leaking numerous documents about NSA surveillance programs.

"Returning to the U.S., I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself, but it's unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which, through a failure in law, did not cover national security contractors like myself," he said.

"Maybe when Congress comes together to end the programs... they'll reform the Whistleblower Protection Act, and we'll see a mechanism for all Americans, no matter who they work for, to get a fair trial."

His comments came hours after a U.S. government privacy watchdog panel said the NSA's indiscriminate collection of bulk phone records is illegal and has had minimal value in fighting terrorism.

Also Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he was unlikely to consider clemency for Snowden.

Holder told MSNBC television U.S. authorities "would engage in conversation" about a resolution of the case if Snowden accepted responsibility for leaking government secrets.

But he said granting clemency "would be going too far."

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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if Snowden accepted responsibility for leaking government secrets

Hasn't he done this? He freely admits what he has done. Holder's using code language though - what he means to say is "if Snowden admits to his heinous crimes".

Snowden's right - little chance of a fair trial in the US.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Before he would ever see the inside of a US courtroom, he would be assassinated. Numerous state personnel have stated as such, surely with a wink and a nod from Obama.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

He better stay in Russia and have body guards.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He is a Russian now!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I wonder if the people who come here and vote down but don't comment think they have any effect on most people's opinion who side with JUSTICE.

Shooting the messenger is for stupid prats. But that is what is being done to Snowden.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Holder has little room to talk as he is one who has obstructed justice in many cases. He refuses to prosecute based on color and has been held in contempt of Congress. Snowden was right in exposing this mess and now the American people are fighting hard to regain their freedom from the tyranny being imposed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yep the US govt etc are looking pretty bad all round on this one, they best fess up & FIX their own mess, they have clearing gone was past crossing the line in all this

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Personally I think that he should be charged with Treason and placed in a deep, dark hole someplace

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Even though the guy is a hero of the people, and should be remembered as a martyr in history, the fact is the US could never give clemency, as it would encourage others to potentially do the same. Even though he exposed wrongs. Because even though he exposed wrongs, it was still treason no matter which way you cut it.

The best he can hope for is to not ever be kidnapped back to the US. Too bad for such a young guy, to never be able to return home.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

StrangerlandJan. 24, 2014 - 11:41PM JST Because even though he exposed wrongs, it was still treason no matter which way you cut it.

Who is the traitor here? The people who ordered and committed treasonous acts that were in violation of the U.S. constitution and international human rights laws? Or the guy who defended democracy by making sure that voters had some idea who and what they were voting for?

My thinking is that its the guys who actually took a long hard look at the U.S. constitution and international human rights laws and decided, "Yeah, that isn't for us.", and then abused their positions of authority to undermine democracy by hiding stuff from voters that the voters had every right to know about. Not ONE of the secrets that Snowden has revealed has resulted in even a verifiable single U.S. death... but they were classified using the excuse that revealing them would result in U.S. deaths... but it didn't. They lied, and lied, and lied some more. And the U.S. public swallowed it up and went back for seconds.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Who is the traitor here? The people who ordered and committed treasonous acts that were in violation of the U.S. constitution and international human rights laws?

Well, I don't know if they were guilty of treason or not, but I definitely think they are guilty of some crimes. Or if they aren't, the law should be written to ensure that anyone who does it again in the future will be guilty of some crime.

Or the guy who defended democracy by making sure that voters had some idea who and what they were voting for?

By releasing state secrets. I applaud his actions all the way, the guy is a hero in the truest sense of the form. But he still gave away state secrets.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

StrangerlandJan. 24, 2014 - 11:53PM JST By releasing state secrets. I applaud his actions all the way, the guy is a hero in the truest sense of the form. But he still gave away state secrets.

And? The state secrets were classified to cover up criminal acts. The law that allowed this abuse is stupid and immoral, and needs to be rectified, and Snowden should receive a presidential pardon (all nice and legal). I don't think that anyone should be saying, "Oh well, Snowden broke a bad law that was being used to cover up criminal acts that undermined democracy, so he should be put in prison.".

I'm going to descend into the murky territory of analogies here for a minute, but I'm sure you'll see why:

If you were the police officer called when Rosa Parks went to the front of the bus would you arrest her because, "Its the law!", or would you turn to the dumb hicks around you and say, "People, stop being such amazing racists."

If you were in the German army during WW2 would you march people into the gas chambers because you had orders, or would you actually try to save them?

There are countless other examples throughout history of bad laws that NEEDED to be broken, that cried out to be broken. Snowden broke a bad law that needed to be broken. But instead of shouting for the heads of the criminals who abused the laws of the land people are shouting for Snowden's head... it just boggles the mind.

I'm not disagreeing with you, just pointing out why I find this entire situation so... incomprehensible. I've thought about it a lot and my only conclusion is that Obama is up to his ears in it and if the U.S. public ever got the full story they'd be howling for his blood... and blood of the last 3 or 4 presidents.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Personally I think that he should be charged with Treason and placed in a deep, dark hole someplace

I share the same sentiments! 110% agreed!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

By releasing state secrets. I applaud his actions all the way, the guy is a hero in the truest sense of the form. But he still gave away state secrets

.More like the US govt shud be up on treason charges, for lying & deceiving on a massive scale, against the so-called freedom of the US of A...............

The US govt got caught with its pants down BIG TIME!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is best the US should leave him alone in Russia. Kidnapping him would start a chain reaction in which Russia will kidnap Russians hiding in America. As for Tovarish Snowden, he should learn to speak and read Russian. He might be able to get a job as an consultant in computer security.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the fact is the US could never give clemency, as it would encourage others to potentially do the same.

Encourage others to do the right thing? Yeah, I cannot see the U.S. government doing that.

In fact a retroactive law could be made to protect Snowden. Obama could even given him a pardon. But no, this would not encourage to commit actual treason.

But I don't think treason is applicable here (although I would never its impossible. Tokyo Rose was convicted of treason, crazy as that was). The charges would most likely be sedition and espionage, although I am not sure if sedition would apply according to American laws.

An important point I think is that a lot of definitions of these crimes require the act to be against the country. But the government is NOT the country. In this case, it was clearly the government acting against the country. But I doubt any court would have the guts to see it that way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@GW

.More like the US govt shud be up on treason charges, for lying & deceiving on a massive scale, against the so-called freedom of the US of A...............

The US govt got caught with its pants down BIG TIME!

What nonsense, it wasn't Snowden's job or right to go out and give the Chinese and Russians everything we have! Had Snowden followed protocol and told everyone just about the spying, I wouldn't have had a problem with it, but going to our enmities with everything but the kitchen sink? When I hear that kind of talk, I know you guys just don't know how the spy agency works. They all spy, yeah, we have the best technology, but we all spy, every country and the countries that don't do it it's because they don't have the money, but everyone does it. This is not a US thing only! Don't be naive.

@yuri

It is best the US should leave him alone in Russia. Kidnapping him would start a chain reaction in which Russia will kidnap Russians hiding in America. As for Tovarish Snowden, he should learn to speak and read Russian. He might be able to get a job as an consultant in computer security.

Hogwash! No one is going to kidnap him from the US! The US is NOT that stupid and would try to kidnap him, it's not worth the aggravation and the political fallout that would definitely ensue. But I heard Snowden is on lockdown and he said, he feels like a bird in a cage, good. He has a long time to ponder in the cold,while eating Borscht. The guy damaged the country, I hope he does go back, I want him to face trail and then locked away for at least 30 years and let him reflect on what he did or he can stay in Russia and whatever happens to him, happens.

In fact a retroactive law could be made to protect Snowden. Obama could even given him a pardon. But no, this would not encourage to commit actual treason.

As much as I can't Obama, I have to give him credit on this one, why would Obama pardon a person that committed a treasonous act against his country, NOT only did he give the Russians and the Chinese everything. But he put a lot of agents in the field working incognito around the world in serious jeopardy. Like I said, I sure do hope they can make a deal and bring this guy back in chains if need be, preferably!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Bass,

NOT only did he give the Russians and the Chinese everything.

Everything? My understanding is that only one percent of the documents he has has been released. That is so almost nothing, it makes me suspect Snowden might be working for the NSA still as a double agent! Trade a tiny bit of fairly useless information and prestige for a false sense in the people that something is actually being done and the heroes are marching.

But he put a lot of agents in the field working incognito around the world in serious jeopardy.

Name one piece of information that did that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@funny

Everything? My understanding is that only one percent of the documents he has has been released. That is so almost nothing, it makes me suspect Snowden might be working for the NSA still as a double agent! Trade a tiny bit of fairly useless information and prestige for a false sense in the people that something is actually being done and the heroes are marching.

You honestly believe that. How naive. You think with all that info, the keys to the pearly gates, that the Russians and the Chinese would allow him to leave without scooping everything they got??? Of course they would, I would do. If not the NSA, Pentagon wouldn't be so worried, we don't know what they took, but that was one of the conditions of granting Snowden Amnesty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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