As The U.S. Government ‘Prepares to Charge Whistleblower for Leaking Secrets’
Commentary by: Gordon King
Edward Snowden, former employee of the NSA, has “spilled the beans” on the governments plans to confiscate private information from the American people. The government is definitely overstepping it’s bounds. Adamantly going against the Constitution of the United States of America. Specifically the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Is Edward Snowden really a traitor? Or is he a patriot? What do you think? As for myself, I feel that he is a very brave and honorable man. He is a true American patriot. He is risking his own life to inform the American people about crimes that our government is committing against us. We need more people in America like Edward Snowden. Let us pray for this man’s courage, strength, peace and protection. Let God be with us during these trying times.
House Speaker John Boehner today branded NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’ as U.S. officials reportedly start the process of filing charges against him for leaking government secrets.Snowden, 29, an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, has admitted that he provided documents about government spying operations to The Guardian newspaper.
He has fled to Hong Kong to elude U.S. authorities, but CBS reported on Tuesday that officials are now preparing to bring charges against him.
‘He’s a traitor,’ Boehner told ABC News. ‘The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.’
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Boehner backed President Obama’s characterization of two surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to gather information about phone calls and data collected from major internet companies.
He said the programs protect the country by helping officials fight terrorism.
‘The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face,’ Boehner said.
‘The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home.’
Senate intelligence chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has also accused Snowden of committing an ‘act of treason’ that should be prosecuted.
The tough talk comes as Snowden’s employers, Booz Allen Hamilton, announced on Tuesday that it has terminated his contract ‘for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy’.
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It said that the claims he had leaked information were ‘shocking’ – and revealed that he was earning $122,000 rather than the $200,000 he told The Guardian he was paid.
As for his future prospects – although Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the U.S., the document has some exceptions, including for crimes deemed political.
Any negotiations about his possible handover will involve Beijing, but some believe China is unlikely to want to jeopardize its relationship with the U.S. over someone of little political interest to them.
Snowden also told The Guardian that he may seek asylum in Iceland, which has strong free-speech protections and a tradition of providing a haven for the outspoken and the outcast.
The Justice Department is investigating whether his disclosures were a criminal offense – a matter that’s not always clear-cut under U.S. federal law.
A senior intelligence official said Snowden would have had to have signed a non-disclosure agreement to gain access to the top secret data.
That suggests he could be prosecuted for violating that agreement. Penalties could range from a few years to life in prison.
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If Snowden is forced to return to the United States to face charges, whistle-blower advocates said Monday that they would raise money for his legal defense.
‘All of the options, as he put it, are bad options,’ Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported the program and interviewed Snowden extensively, told The Associated Press.
He said Snowden decided to release details of the programs out of shock and anger over the sheer scope of the government’s privacy invasions.
‘It was his choice to publicly unveil himself,’ Greenwald said.
‘He recognized that even if he hadn’t publicly unveiled himself, it was only a matter of time before the U.S. government discovered that it was he who had been responsible for these disclosures, and he made peace with that… He’s very steadfast and resolute about the fact that he did the right thing.’
Greenwald told the AP that he had more documents from Snowden and expected ‘more significant revelations’ about NSA.
As questions surround his future, global and U.S. outrage at the programs continues.
In Washington, members of Congress said they would take a new look at potential ways to keep the U.S. safe from terror attacks without giving up privacy protections that critics charge are at risk with the government’s current authority to broadly sweep up personal communications.
‘There’s very little trust in the government, and that’s for good reason,’ said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. ‘We’re our own worst enemy.’
A senior U.S. intelligence official on Monday said there were no plans to scrap the programs that, despite the backlash, continue to receive widespread if cautious support within Congress.
The programs were revealed last week by The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper has taken the unusual step of declassifying some of the previously top-secret details to help the administration mount a public defense of the surveillance as a necessary step to protect Americans.
One of the NSA programs gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records to search for possible links to known terrorist targets abroad. The other allows the government to tap into nine U.S. Internet companies and gather all communications to detect suspicious behavior that begins overseas.
Snowden is a former CIA employee who later worked as a contractor for the NSA on behalf of Booz Allen, where he gained access to the surveillance.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine said, it was ‘absolutely shocking’ that a 29-year-old with limited experience and no formal qualifications would have access to this material.
FBI agents on Monday visited the home of Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, in Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania. The FBI in Philadelphia declined to comment.