“Snowden told reporters that it is totally ridiculous for anyone to believe that Clinton’s emails were safe from cyber attacks, and that it’s okay if anyone wishes to use his educated viewpoint in any critique of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.”
Presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton told an audience during a “staged” town hall in New Hampshire on Friday that the now infamous National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive Edward Snowden should voluntarily come back to the United States and explain his reasons for stealing and then leaking highly classified documents especially while he lived in Russia.
One of the audience members had asked Clinton if she believed Snowden is a “patriot” or a “traitor” for revealing classified government data, but with the skill of a politician she failed to answer but did claim she questioned his motives. I think we need to continue the balance on civil liberties, privacy, and security — it’s always a challenge,” Clinton said, in the midst of being the subject of an FBI investigation into her own alleged breaches of national security.
“Because he took valuable information and went first to China and then is now under the protection of Vladimir Putin, I think that raises a lot of questions about everything else he did. So I do not think he should escape having to return and answer for what he has done,” she told the carefully screened audience.
Many believe Clinton’s comments are tied to a statement by Snowden published in a few newspapers, mostly overseas. He had told reporters that it is totally ridiculous for anyone to believe that Clinton’s emails were safe from cyber attacks, and that it’s okay if anyone wishes to use his educated viewpoint in any critique of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
During Tuesday’s debate, Clinton had criticized Snowden saying “[He] could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised.”
But both detractors and supporters of Snowden said that he was not entitled to whistleblower protections, which do not apply to contractors. Also, those protections are limited in the laws regarding espionage. “It’s one thing to point out government corruption or criminal activity. It’s quite another to leak classified material stolen and given to others for their own purposes,” said former military intelligence officer and police lieutenant Alan Graymore, Jr.
Clinton, who left the State Department prior to NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaking classified information in 2013, also complained about Snowden taking additional U.S. intelligence that had nothing to do with threats to American civil liberties.
“[Snowden stole] a lot of information that by any definition had nothing to do with American civil rights, liberties, and privacy, but instead were about terrorists and what other nations, just to name two, Russia and China, do to try to gather information about us and what our government tries to do to prevent that and to try to get information about them,” she told her audience in her patented self-righteous tone.
Edward Snowden became a fugitive from U.S. law enforcement after leaking classified documents in 2013 through left-wing activist Julian Assange, the owner and editor of WikiLeaks.com. With relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Obama extremely tense, Snowden was given asylum and he currently lives in Russia.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation say Snowden faces a number of espionage and theft of government property charges.