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US Court Vindicates Snowden — But He's Still Only Safe in Russia

The weekend story in London Sunday Times about the Russians and Chinese allegedly hacking Snowden's files, "putting British spies at risk", was obviously intended to discredit Snowden after a US court decision that confirmed the illegality of the NSA programme he exposed. Despite being vindicated by the Court decision, Snowden is still safe only in Russia.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

In 2013, Edward Snowden disclosed the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ calling records, saying it is illegal and unconstitutional.

The US government declared Snowden a fugitive from justice, obliging Snowden to claim political asylum in Russia.

<figcaption>Edward Snowden would probably be whisked off to a CIA blacksite if he returned home</figcaption>
Edward Snowden would probably be whisked off to a CIA blacksite if he returned home

On 7th May 2015, in the case of ACLU v. Clapper, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that Section 215 of the Patriot Act did not authorize the NSA to collect Americans' calling records in bulk, as exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013.

In its Judgment the Court said Section 215 “cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it and that it does not authorise the (NSA’S) telephone metadata program.”

Does the Court’s Judgment vindicate Snowden?  Many think so.

Since it looks like Snowden was right all along, perhaps Obama should grant him a pardon so he can return to the US?  After all he exposed a massive illegal mass surveillance programme carried out by the US government against its own citizens.

There’s a Petition calling for that, which has been ongoing since 2013.

Don’t hold your breath.

A month after the US court decision the British government is saying through the London Sunday Times that the Russians and Chinese have hacked Snowden’s files and British spies have been compromised as a result and ordered home. 

British Spies Betrayed to Russians and Chinese” the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times screams.  Snowden “has blood on his hands” a British official anonymously says. 

Evidence for any of that?  None.  

Those who said it did so anonymously, so they can’t be questioned, and the information is secret, so it can’t be made public.  

Another British official is said to have told the Sunday Times that there was “no evidence anyone had been harmed” so how can Snowden have blood on his hands?

As has been rightly said, the whole story is a disgrace - obviously cobbled together to smear Snowden when, following the Court decision, he was starting to look vindicated.  Done moreover in the UK so the US government could pretend it isn’t involved.

Back in 2013 this is what former CIA Director James Woolsey said about Snowden:

“I think giving him amnesty is idiotic.  He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”

Given that kind of thinking, and what we’ve just seen in England, Snowden is better staying put in Moscow.



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