So, I watched "Citizenfour," the documentary about Edward Snowden. In it, some attorney representing him said that it wouldn't matter that what he disclosed was illegal (a massive cover-up via deliberate lying, including to Congress, by governmental officials, even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, of illegal spying on American citizens). He could still be prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act of 1917.
In 2012, a federal judge ruled that former CIA worker John Kiriakou could not present evidence about his reasons for going public with accounts of U.S. waterboarding during interrogations. Kiriakou was charged with disclosing classified information under the Espionage Act.
"Any claim that he acted with a salutary motive, or that he acted without a subversive motive, when he allegedly communicated NDI (national defense information) to journalists is not relevant to this case," the judge wrote.
Greenwald said that if Snowden returned to the United States, he would have no protections under the Espionage Act and would not be allowed to justify his actions in court. In terms of the law, Greenwald is literally correct.
Hogwash. No law is valid that it is illegal to disclose illegality, Constitutional violations, civil and human rights violations, war crimes, and the like, by the government to the people. The Espionage Act is only validly applied in circumstances where the US government was or is not deliberately engaging in clearly illegal activity against the American people, against the Constitution. Such is not the case concerning Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden disclosed gross violations of the law by the NSA and others and their contractors and the massive illegal cover-up by the government and those involved including the President down.
Edward Snowden did not break the law. Edward Snowden worked to preserve, protect, and defend the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America, the highest law of the land — higher than the Espionage Act.
No judge worth his or her salt could find otherwise.
Edward Snowden is not here in the US because the rule of law does not exist here for him. The federal government is an outlaw. It is a rogue entity. It is headed by proven liars, people who lie concerning their illegal actions, which actions destroy all semblance of privacy. We are not now secure in our persons, houses, papers [documents, cyber or otherwise], and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.
Edward Snowden should be here in the US as a national hero, and those who purposefully and wittingly lied to the American people about the illegal dragnet-spying (that includes content) should, by rights, by law, be behind bars for many, many years, including Barack Obama.
Manning should be free also, and those who broke the law in that case should likewise (according to the law) be prosecuted and imprisoned in Manning's place; and Snowden's and Manning's cases are far from the only ones.
I'm not suggesting that the US government wouldn't try mightily to press forward against Snowden based upon a misreading of the law. What I'm saying is that Snowden should be contesting the applicability of any "gagging" effect or defense limitations put forth by Glenn Greenwald and others. Snowden should be contesting the charges even now, in absentia. He needs to have the charges thrown out based upon the illegality of the government actions exposed by his leaks. He could testify by live video.