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Should Edward Snowden Come Home?
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Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 11:32:18 AM
Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
As a follow-on to my original question of whether Edward Snowden should come back to the U.S. to face the music, do you think he could get a fair trial here?
ClareCM
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ClareCM,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 12:50:45 PM
Great topic
I haven't read the book yet but I am looking forward to it.  My initial impression is that Snowden has already sacrificed quite a bit to get the information out about how much the government spies on us. So right now I'm on the "hero" side of the debate.  But I feel like I need to know more about whether some of the information Snowden leaked could endanger important operations, so I'm glad to learn more about this topic.  I do agree that coming back to the U.S. would make him more of a martyr.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 1:00:20 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I think he could get a fair trial, and that he'd be convicted of treason. He has gone WAY beyond just exposing a few NSA programs. He broke the promise he made when he was granted a TS clearance and has given information to Russia and others that has damaged our ability to protect our citizens. From watching the recent Brian Williams interview, I think he's delusional and very, very taken with is own importance. I don't see him ever voluntarily returning to answer for his actions.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 1:27:19 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
Interesting Lorna. I watched that interview and had opposite opinion, that he seemed much more normal than I thought he would be. To me, he genuinely seemed to think he was doing right thing and that he was one of few people in a position to do anything about it. He definitely knew if he did this it was going to ruin any chance of normal life. I think he expected the public to come down heavily on his side but think he was smart enough to know that wouldn't keep him out of jail.

He is certainly not a traitor in any traditional sense, where someone was clearly aligned with a known enemy. He was trying to help us, the unknowing public, what was going on. It is certainly a legitimate debate whether he accomplished that or not.

But one argument I reject is examples of "damage done" being things like US getting made fun of by foreign powers for spying on German leader cell phone. If you don't want to be embarrassed, don't be doing things you should not be doing in first place. Serves them right, seems like justice to me.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 1:51:24 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
The definition of treason is pretty straightforward, and he certainly meets it. He stole a vast amount of classified information after vowing to keep it secret, shared it with foreign governments, including geopolitical adversaries, and damaged US security and relationships. Anyone who didn't think the NSA was watching this data is naive -- the entire mandate of the agency is to intercept electronic communications. What lala land are people living in? 

Wholesale dumping of classified information is illegal and puts all of us at risk. Our system offers legal options to disgruntled employees and contractors -- there are federal whistle-blower laws. They can go talk to their congressperson. They can even very selectively leak data to the press then have the integrity to stay around and take responsibility. He did none of those. 

 

 

 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/11/2014 | 2:13:33 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I'm not debating what legal definition of treason is. My point is that he is nothing like Benedict Arnold or the dude that sold secrets to Russians for years, for money. I have to believe you see the difference. But I agree that won't save him a treason conviction.

I have a problem with general statement he "broke vow to keep secret" and "it was classified". How would anyone know what they have vowed to to keep secret until they see it? If NSA was working with criminals in baby trafficing and it was classified, would you have to keep that secret also? These laws made a lot more sense when you could actually trust the government was trying to do the right thing, worked for the people. Those days are long gone, look no further than the WMD's we never found in Iraq.

People like you are certainly entitled to the view you have, and you may be the majority in this case. To me, it just refreshing to see someone with the guts to do something they thought was right, for no personal gain for themselves. I'd like to think I'd act like that if circumstances dictated, not bury my head in sand. My favorite analogy here is Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. If you helped the Jews, you were a traitor and a criminal. Which side was right back then, those who allowed the Nazi government to execute their "laws" or those who tried to help?

As far as naive that NSA was collecting data on scale they were, how would anyone on outside expect that? To be honest, I was surprised they had the talent to do it.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 6:02:13 PM
Snowden is no hero but makes an even worse traitor
To me Snowden actions smack more of a tradition of civil disobedience than traitorous activity. I have no doubt he meets the legal definition of traitor, but something more fundamental is at stake than whether he could be convicted on the charge. We have tolerated breaking the law up to a point when it had the possible outcome of resulting in a social good. (Martin Luther King was a traitor to J. Edgar Hoover.) To me, it's better for citizens to know the full scope of their government's surveillance than to know one violator has felt the full wrath of the law. Snowden shows signs of being, if not delusional, at least narcissistic, to me as well as Lorna, and he remains a very poor example to future generations. One of the rules of civil disobedience is that you stick around to take the consequences of your actions. Snowden didn't. But history is likely to conclude he struck a necessary blow to preserve individual freedoms, not undermine them. 
rrizzo12601
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rrizzo12601,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 9:54:47 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
Snowden would NEVER get a fair trial anywhere, unless you consider a Kangaroo Court, fair.

He has very few peers in the area of network security, so he could not be judged by jury of his peers.

It also seems that the administration is out to get him, and if they want him, they surely will get him. They have the means to do so, and probably already have a plan. 

His actions may invoke a charge of sedition, but by no means treason. If his actions are seditous, than how about the many others who have acted in the same manner, regarding the current administration? Those who feel that taking a "second amendment solution," or other seditous means, should also be under the same microscope as Snowden. 

AFAIC - History will see Snowden as a hero. He stood up to power, and outed their scheme to collect data on each and every person that they can. This action by the NSA is the REAL crime here, not the person reporting the crime. Snowden should not get jail time, he should get a medal!
rrizzo12601
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rrizzo12601,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 9:58:16 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I do not know what your definition of treason is, but here's the one I found in Webster's: "treason: the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government."

Since when did Snowden attempt to kill the president, or overthrow the government. These are more the actions of the Teabag Party, not Snowden.

Perhaps you mean sedition. Sedition is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. This is more like Snowden's crime, not treason. I wish that people would learn the definitons of these two words.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 10:25:08 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
The relevant part of the definition is "the crime of betraying one's country" -- "attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government" are examples, not limiters. He clearly betrayed the trust his country put in him when giving him access to Top Secret material by stealing that data and giving the Chinese and Russion intelligence services access to it.
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