If Snowden is the emblematic national security whistleblower of our age, what does civil disobedience theory have to tell us about Snowden’s case? And what does Snowden’s case have to tell us about civil disobedience theory?
Latest in Surveillance: Snowden NSA Controversy
The USA Freedom Act was supposed to preserve the core of the NSA’s telephone metadata contact-chaining program. Has it doomed it instead?
When reading about Snowden, keep in mind the dedicated NSA employees who strive to uphold the rule of law and protect their country.
In his recent book Beyond Snowden: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA, civil liberties activist and former intelligence official Timothy Edgar calls for a renewed conversation on mass surveillance reform in the global and digital age. This month, Benjamin Wittes interviewed Edgar on his new book at the Hoover Book Soiree.
Edward Snowden’s theft of files, whatever good it accomplished in igniting a national conversation on surveillance, also opened the door to more aggressive Russian intrusions in cyberspace.
The House Intelligence Committee has made public its full 36-page report on Edward Snowden, which was previously classified.
The Washington Post editorial page has no institutional duty whatsoever to defend a source simply because the news side won a Pulitzer based on his criminality. The editorial staff is not tasked with deciding whether or not to publish Snowden documents. The news staff is not tasked with opining on whether Snowden should get a pardon.
The argument over whether Edward Snowden should or should not be pardoned will tend to become an argument over the proper use of the pardoning power—or, to put it another way, whether a pardon for Snowden would constitute an appropriate instance of clemency. But by its very nature, the rights and wrongs of presidential clemency can’t be described or defined to an extent sufficient to resolve this debate.
Jack Goldsmith’s response to my call for a pardon for Edward Snowden deserves a reply. I also have a few thoughts on what Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have now added to the debate.
Edward Snowden doesn’t fall into any of the categories of individuals for whom presidents tend to consider pardons. And he does fall into several categories of people who almost never receive clemency.