It is the presidential campaign season in the US. I know it’s hard to believe, with more than a year to go before Americans go to the polls. However, bashing a controversial target is never bad politics, regardless of the country, so, with a considerable majority of US citizens registering disagreement with Edward Snowden’s actions, candidates are generally piling on, and thus singing to the choir as it were.
Even venerable socialist Bernie Sanders, erstwhile darling of the left, doesn’t support Snowden getting off scot-free. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the overwhelming front-runner (she eschews the presumptive nominee tag), and therefore, draws the most ire from the pro-Snowden supporters. Her take on the episode is telling, but not surprising.
What is a bit of a surprise is that HRC can, with a straight face, castigate someone for cyber security flaws, given her behavior in this area while Secretary of State. She laments Snowden’s information falling into the ’’wrong hands”, perpetuating the incorrect thesis that Snowden didn’t destroy files before fleeing to Russia, as he has publicly and constantly stated. And to heighten the conspiracy theory further, it is then reasonable to assume the Russians shared the data with the Chinese. Her comments are the height of hypocrisy based on her actions before, during and after her tenure as a cabinet member.
Hillary, you see, has actually been running for president since 2001 – since Bill left office. Obama derailed her efforts in 2008, partly because of the hefty baggage she carried as a former First Lady and US Senator. Baggage such as voting for the Irag War, bank bailouts, and having a history of being against gay marriage. So, not to be denied again, she sought to obfuscate matters by not leaving a paper trail (or cyber trail) of her performance and positions by conducting government business on a private server.
But that was not enough chicanery for a true Clinton. Further, she commenced to erase some 30,000 emails completely. Yet this person feels compelled and comfortable calling for Snowden’s head. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Here’s another: people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
To his credit, Snowden doesn’t foresee his returning to the US without some sort of public airing and penalty. He insists that he did nothing more than give the information to Intercept founders Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, and claims he did not take the files to Russia “because it wouldn’t serve the public interest,” he told the press in 2013,
“There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents.”
Right-wing zealots like Ruppert Murdoch, more accustomed to opposing liberal actions such as Snowden’s, have railed against him, clamouring for harsh punishment. Last summer n Murdoch’s Sunday Times attempted to smear Snowden by alleging his complicity with the Russians and Chinese, but that was quickly debunked after a media firestorm. Apparently, Clinton was engaging in similarly hyperbolic, unsupported scare tactics – that is, unless by “the wrong hands” she meant our readers, and the public at large.
Say what you wish about Edward Snowden, and think what you will. The facts are that important laws – admittedly inadequate – have been enacted because of his disclosures. The pendulum, if not moving a bit toward personal privacy, has at least had its momentum toward tyranny halted. And currently, the EU is pushing back against the US tidal wave of information gathering by refusing to allow the unfettered flow of information to cross the Atlantic. What type of punishment Edward Snowden should face cannot be meted out without taking these factors into account. The last thing we need are politicians who are pandering for votes to cloud people’s judgement.