Pardon Snowden?

Russell Arben Fox hosted a good debate on his Facebook page this morning about whether or not Edward Showden should be pardoned. This article from the NYT started the discussion. I think the guy is a turd, made the country less safe, and has been a stooge for Putin, but my answer doesn’t get much more sophisticated than that.

Weigh in.

5 thoughts on “Pardon Snowden?

  1. I think your comment is right on. Whether he was originally a Russian spy or not, he has become a tool of Russian intelligence. They have used him against us. He claims that he did not give the Russians the documents he stole, but offers no real proof. I realize I am asking him to prove a negative, well, that’s what he gets for fleeing to Russia after stealing state secrets. Prove the negative and we can talk.

    And for that matter, sure he revealed some stuff that I am not thrilled about. Nothing that I am honestly particularly troubled by, however. And nothing that makes me think that the pre-existing oversight mechanisms were not working at least adequately. Given the reaction of the voters, it seems to me that this view is relatively common.


      1. I’m not mixing them up at all. It has died down recently, but he has regularly been used in Russian propaganda efforts. For example he personally participated here:

        His disclosures, many of which had nothing to do with domestic surveillance, were used party as an attempt to drive a wedge between the United States and, for example, Germany with regards to the Merkel phone issue. Speaking of the Germans, they seem to think he’s a Russian spy:

        Now, he will say it was part of some effort to inform the American people of illegal surveillance inflicted upon them. And yet, he stole an enormous cache of materials, without reviewing them, and gave them away. We have nothing but his own word that he didn’t give them to the Russians. And yet, he ran away and ended up in Russia. It looks like a classic defection to Russia with some misinformation thrown in for propaganda purposes. He says it’s not. If he wants me to believe him, he can prove it.


  2. I think what Snowden did was necessary, exposing activities that had been going on in secrecy without the consent or knowledge of citizens.

    It’s an issue we’re going to face again and again as routine monitoring of everyone becomes more and more common. I heard a story yesterday — a friend’s son was playing pokemon go and encountered a irate conspiracy buff who argued loudly that playing pokemon go — and viewing the environment through the scene — was a plot by the feds to monitor every citizen (including the irate buff, who was in the field of view of the kid’s iPhone). Although I don’t believe the government *is* doing that, it could be.

    Snowden’s release of the information showed us what could be done and we need to grapple with the decision making regularly.

    But, Snowden’s flight makes it difficult for me to condone a pardon. On the other hand, if he really has become a “tool of Russian Intelligence” we might have an incentive to come back to us. I’d be more supportive of a plea deal, though, than a pardon.


  3. No pardon for treason. He was in a position of great trust, which he betrayed.

    In the end, we will all understand there is no privacy in the smartphone age. No secrets, lots of lies.

    I’m not certain that humans are “wired” to understand that, though.


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