Beyond the News
In the early days of last summer a contractor employee of American National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, poured a bucket of cold water over Barack Obama’s head by bringing to the media several documents proving that the US has been spying on its own citizens. Amongst several allegations based on thousand of files held by Snowden, his main claims are that Americans have no privacy and the government is warehousing a metadata of sensitive information about innocent people by using the fight against terrorism as a reason to do so.
Immediately, Snowden became an “American enemy” (at least an enemy of American government) and figured the list of most wanted people in the world. US officials went down to business and started to give interviews saying that Snowden was collaborating with terrorism by informing “the way how America fights terror” and just like Bradley Manning should be taken on trial. With the beginning of winter on the curve, this call is getting warm up with Snowden’s latest reveals about US espionage on private companies and international allies such as Brazil and Germany.
However, it seems like that Snowden, who is living as a refugee in Russia and was recently reported to be back to work in Moscow, does not need trial any longer! His hearing has already started!
For instance, the White House Senior Adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, and the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, presented their accusations yesterday. During an interview for ABC’s “This Week”, Mr. Pfeiffer said that “Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law”, so he should return home and “face justice”.
In a different interview to CBS’ “Face the Nation”, Senator Dianne Feinstein goes further by saying that Snowden had the opportunity to call up the House of Intelligence Committee to inform about the documents he had in hands; so everything could be done internally without making so much mess in the American diplomatic relationship. To close Snowden “trial”, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Mike Rogers, added the following on the same interview to CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “If he wants to come back and open up to the responsibility of the fact that he took and stole information, he violated his oath, he disclosed classified information — that by the way has allowed three different terrorist organizations, affiliates of al Qaeda to change the way they communicate — I’d be happy to have that discussion with him”.
Nevertheless, what seems to be yet unclear is what exactly laws Snowden has violated? American or NSA laws? Or both? Should he be arrested for disclosing sensitive and high classified information acquired at work, or for “embarrassing” the American government?
In relations to Mrs. Feinstein’s comments, it sounds like that she lives in the Alice Wonderland and hope that all Americans do the same. Does she really believe that the Intelligence Committee would (or could) do something about it? Would really Snowden be taken in consideration and the case be escalated to higher authorities for analyses? How long would these analyses take? Let’s be honest here, it is hard to believe that the Obama administration would make any changes in this story just because a 29 years old programmer is saying that this espionage scheme is unfair. If on one hand Snowden had the chance to speak with the Senate, on the other the White House had 5 years to re-think about NSA strategies and change them. It was not done.
At last, Mr. Rogers’s remarks are pretty sarcastic! To say that terrorists have changed their work based on Snowden disclosures is quite strange and hard to believe. Nothing that has been published by the journalist Glenn Greenwald so far has any connection with the way how NSA spies on terrorists. No document revealed until the present moment details about NSA’s investigations and what the agency found about American’s enemies worldwide. So, instead of “invite” Snowden for a talk, he should be typing a report to Brazilian president and German chancellor to explain why their private e-mails and phone calls were monitored by Obama’s administration.
Eventually, this all sounds like that the real objective in this case is to focus on an illegal action and potential crime committed by Snowden, rather than investigate the unethical behavior of US government in spying on allies, companies and its own people that have no connection with terrorism what so ever. In the meantime, Snowden’s trial has already started and seems to be well advanced in the White House.