Grant Edward Snowden Amnesty Now

by Diane Dimond on December 23, 2013

Traitor or Patriot?

As any member of organized crime will tell you it is best to, “Keep your enemies close to you.”

Why no one in the Obama Administration has latched on to that concept while contemplating the Edward Snowden NSA scandal is beyond me.

Snowden is, of course, the former National Security Agency computer analyst who fled the country with about 1.7 million classified documents proving that America has been involved in a worldwide and massive telephone and internet surveillance campaign.

Snowden has released some 200,000 documents so far and the world has learned that the U.S routinely scoops up the phone data and internet traffic of countless millions of Americans who are not suspected of any crime. There are separate U.S. spying programs operating abroad with such tremendous reach that they have even targeted the personal cell phones and e-mails of heads of state. Two of the victims, Brazilian President Dilma Roussef and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel have asked the United Nations Human Rights Counsel to investigate America’s actions.

Snowden Now Holds a Russian Passport

After the initial document dump Snowden has been cooling his heels in Russia. Ironic, I think, that the man who declared America’s surveillance programs violated human rights would land in a country with a far worse record on the issue. The Russians took him in for a year only after he promised to temporarily stop releasing any more classified information.

After six months living in what is surely a 24/7 surveillance atmosphere Snowden indicates he’s thinking about moving on. At least 20 countries have denied his asylum request but he recently penned an open letter to the country of Brazil, perhaps hoping that their offended president might change her mind and approve his request for sanctuary.

“American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not ‘surveillance,’ it’s ‘data collection,’” Snowden wrote. “They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong. These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”

And Snowden made clear his determined mindset.

“I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.”

Snowden Celebrated Worldwide as Hero

This makes Snowden, 30, a formidable foe. He doesn’t care about his own fate. He is an ideologue whose only goal is to continue to reveal the contents of the remaining 1.5 million classified documents he took with him.

It’s time to staunch the damaging flow of secret information. During this temporary hiatus in Snowden’s revelations it is time for the brain trust in Washington to come up with an amnesty package for Snowden and get him back on American soil.

Even the chief of the NSA’s investigation into the scandal seems to agree. Richard Ledgett told 60 Minutes he is extremely worried about highly classified documents not yet made public and that amnesty for Snowden, “Is worth having a discussion about.”

Naturally, there would have to be strict conditions like securing the remainder of the secret documents and positively confirming there were no copies made.

Ledgett Talks Amnesty on 60 Minutes

This will be difficult because federal prosecutors have charged Snowden with several felony counts, including some under the Espionage Act. Any defense lawyer worth his or her salt would insist the charges be reduced or dropped before Snowden would consider returning. They may demand a presidential pardon or other far-reaching immunity. Maybe the feds could offer a protective custody deal where Snowden remains under guard for a pre-determined period of time while details of the document recovery are worked through.

Another problem? Snowden surely won’t want to keep silent. He craves a public discussion about what he sees as the illegal actions of U.S. intelligence agents. And if the feds are smart they will want to thoroughly question him about how he achieved the theft of all those classified files.

How about granting Snowden closed-door conversations with select members of Congress? Lawmakers who have felt lied to by NSA officials would jump at the chance to question the man.

NSA Director Alexander Testifies on Hill

Yes, Snowden would eventually be allowed to walk free but isn’t that the price we should pay for recovery of America’s most top secret information?

There have been terrible mis-calculations made about Edward Snowden. He has proven he is smarter and craftier than our entire intelligence community. He quietly conceived and then carried out his plan; he deftly escaped the reach of American law enforcement and expertly began to reveal what he had learned through pre-selected media. Snowden has engineered a protective sphere around himself designed to help him release more of the incriminating information he took with him. It is safe to assume he has deposited computer drives containing the documents somewhere assessable to friendly reporters.

Some view Snowden as the ultimate traitor, someone never to be negotiated with. Others see him as a selfless patriot who was compelled by his conscious to reveal the unconstitutional actions of his government. Indeed, a federal judge recently ruled that the NSA’s daily habit of collecting virtually every American’s phone records is likely unconstitutional. In 2010, another federal judge ruled the NSA’s warrantless wiretaps were illegal.

I say it’s time to do something other than wait for Snowden to come in out of the cold. America is strong enough to withstand past bad deeds. We have re-examined government sanctioned actions like slavery and World War II Japanese internment camps and we’ve come out stronger on the other side of the discussions.

If Washington played it right granting Snowden amnesty and engaging in an open dialogue about what has occurred, could be used as an incredibly poignant mea culpa to the rest of the world.

There are only two alternatives here. Either allow Snowden to remain at large, free to release more of America’s secrets or grant him amnesty.

I vote for the, “Keep your enemies close to you,” solution. home

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

ABQ Journal Reader Doug Heyn writes:

“Diane;

Great column!! The one great accomplishment for me, was Snowdon waking me up to the fact, that Uncle Sammy is not my uncle. Republican or Democrat, President, Senator, Congressman or Judge they are all whores to their own ego’s and not interested in the body politic. I no longer trust any of them, their inflated intellects or the morons that work for them (Government bureaucracies). “

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

ABQ Journal Reader Michael Daly writes:

“I really appreciate your keeping us informed on this issue. Regarding the quote from Snowden in your article “These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”

Regarding the CIA, I suggest several books for you if you have not read them. First is Legacy of Ashes, a History of the CIA by Tim Weiner, national security writer for the NY Times. It exposes what a bunch of cowboys they guys are. The second one I am just finishing is The Brothers, by Stephen Kinzer another reporter, about the brothers John Foster and Allen Dulles. It is not a flattering picture of them or our foreign policy.

Keep writing.

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

Noozhawk Reader Steve writes:

“Alternative: Wanted, dead or alive, Snowden. US Govt reward: $1
million. So he won’t be “free”, but his mouth would get closed.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:15 am

Facebook Friend Ronald Jeffries Tallman writes:

“No, sounds like he is capable of continuing to hold USA hostage via his kidnapping of secrets he was hired to safeguard. I agree mistakes were made, liberties perhaps violated but it is NOT up to him to make these judgements and correct the government. The US is allowing him to remain free out there but if he does begin releasing damaging documents…well…his stories may come to an end.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

Twitter Pal GQCOP45 writes:

“@DiDimond He’s a traitor.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

Twitter Pal RobertTheBruce writes:

“@DiDimond Snowden is a whistle blower not a traitor.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

Twitter Pal gritslady writes:

“@DiDimond grant amnesty. we have had Presidents do far worse.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

Facebook Friend Phil Brodsky writes:

“Obama and Co. say no to amnesty for Snowden–end of the story!”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

Really Phil Brodsky?
What if the Congress votes that they SHOULD give Snowden amnesty? Members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee/Intelligence Committee are pretty mad.

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

Facebook Friend Darryl DuPont writes:

‘ Ohhh there you go again…stirring it up before the holidays, going to be making all these folks wild and taking sides. I’m Staying out of this one and just starting my holiday drinking. Merry Xmas”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

May I join you, Mr. Dupont? Where is it you live again? I’m sure its within driving distance…..~ DD

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Facebook Friend Lynne Adrine writes:

“How can the government ever trust Snowden? What’s to stop him from withholding certain data for insurance, in case this administration, or the next, veers from what he thinks is right? And what if his view of “what’s right” changes? That’s a lot of power for one unelected, unvetted person.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

The saddest part, Lynne? Snowden WAS vetted. Ugh. But I take your point.
Look, there’s no reason an amnesty program could include prison time for Snowden. He’s in a virtual prison now – leading a life that is hardly free. If Snowden’s main goal was to unmask the wrongs our NSA and other intelligence groups were engaged in, well, he’s done that to a large degree. I say give him a Washington-based soapbox to continue to make his revelations (to closed door congressional hearings) and let’s start making some laws that stop this unconstitutional behavior from ever happening again. As it stands now we’re all at a stalemate and that’s never a good place to be IMHO. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Facebook Friend Sam Jackson writes:

“How can the government be trusted after learning the NSA has been spying on it’s own citizens.?There are two sides to this blade.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Twitter Pal pamramagano writes:

” @DiDimond Never grant a traitor amnesty! And that is what he is. If you betray your country, it is the very definition of a traitor.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Twitter Pal MicheleDavidow writes:

“@DiDimond He’s not a traitor. He’s a whistleblower…big difference. //He can’t go back to US. Some idiot will shoot him.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Twitter Pal BobIverson writes:

“@DiDimond Snowden is a true patriot. Amazing that Americans are more upset about Duck Dynasty than the NSA raping the constitution.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Twitter Pal skybuddy704 writes:

“@DiDimond In my opinion,we need to get him back on U.S. soil. His computer knowledge is priceless.We need him working for us,not our enemies.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Twitter Pal sherri_sgh49ers writes:

“@DiDimond No Way!! I wish they could get the documents back then leave him where he is. I don’t want him back here.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Twitter Pal JavierDamien writes:

” @DiDimond Exc Sndon analysis D. Providing amnesty, however, terrifies the intellig comm. Is an oath to protect the nation’s secrets sacred?”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Twitter Pal gfysob writes:

” @DiDimond Hell no! He is the biggest traitor of all times! No way!”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Twitter Pal 25FieldSquadron writes:

“@DiDimond It’s a little complicated to explain,but you should know what can happen if they grant him amnesty.Freak Accidents +…you know..!”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Twitter Pal Patti Petow writes:

“@DiDimond I absolutely believe that he should be in the U.S. Agreed, keep enemies close if he is even that. We don’t what rules to play by.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Twitter Pal burr_brett writes:

“@DiDimond whom Ds he betray, the American government, or the American people? The two are not the same. Answer that, then decide.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Facebook Friend Dewey Parr writes:

“Agree, Give him amnesty and pin a medal on him.”

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Diane Dimond December 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Facebook Friend Colleen Hockman writes:

“Absolutely not. We do negotiate with terrorists.”

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Diane Dimond December 24, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Twitter Pal McLellab writes:

“@DiDimond It was not Snowden’s place to make the decision to release any info. He had sworn an oath and betrayed his oath and his country.//
Snowden has already worked “For” this country but chose to work against his country. He’s a traitor.”

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Diane Dimond December 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Twitter Pal gfysob writes:

“@DiDimond And in my opinion, we need to hang him high!”

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Diane Dimond December 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Linked In Connection Lynn Rowe writes:

” Standing up for and preserving the constitutional rights of the people trumps the contractual, power oriented manipulation of the system to focus on inordinate accumulation of money and power. “

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Diane Dimond December 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Twitter Pal JWesWilliams writes:

“@DiDimond Sometimes breaking the law IS the patriotic thing to do. It says so right in the Declaration of Independence.”

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Diane Dimond December 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Huffington Post Reader Michael Moretti writes:

“An absolutely stellar column on what the American public should consider the greatest invasion of privacy ever.”

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Laura December 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

I found your article in our local paper. I did not know about this situation prior. Thank you for informing and doing such in this graceful way.

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Diane Dimond December 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Facebook Fan Rick Burnis writes:

“He’s a traitor plain and simple and should be charged with high treason if he ever comes under US jurisdiction.”

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Diane Dimond December 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Facebook Fan Jeff Davis writes:

“They won’t give him amnesty. Case closed. That’s only reserved for illegal aliens.”

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Diane Dimond December 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Facbook Fan Diane Bailey writes:

“He’s not a terrorist. Some say he’s a traitor, others say a whistle blower.”

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Diane Dimond December 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Facebook Fan Kristi Rohlfing writes:

“I think he can help us right now. I do think he’s a whistleblower, and the Whistleblowing came from other places that lost a lot of US cred.// He didn’t terrorize, nor did Daniel Ellsberg. It’s the same thing, just different technology.”

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Diane Dimond December 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Facebook Fan Jeff Wysong writes:

“Nope! There were plenty of other avenues this dude could have taken to “call out the government”, but instead he chose the hasty route and potentially put people’s lives in danger! Screw this piece of shit!”

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