Global Independent Analytics

Snowden's Leaks an Act of 'Public Service,' Holder Says

Holder, however, was quick to put into context what appeared to be praise of a person the U.S. considers a criminal

Catherine Maddux for VOA News reports: former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a "public service" when the ex-National Security Agency contractor leaked classified intelligence documents.

"I thought the president put it best when he said, 'Just because we have the ability to do something, doesn't mean we should,'" assumed Holder. He added that Obama’s administration was continuously weighing the value of surveillance against the issue of privacy.

However, he contended: "We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made."

The infamous leak occurred in 2013, when Snowden revealed classified information to certain news outlets, disclosing the extent to which the Obama administration was gathering personal data — far and above what took place under The Patriot Act following the 9/11 attacks.

The revelations not only shocked the American public, but also international allies (think Angela Merkel, whose personal cell phone was revealed to have been bugged).

The scandal pushed Obama to assemble a panel that reproached the National Security Agencies' domestic data collection — that is the bulk of metadata on Americans, which can show the most private personal details of an individual's life.

For some, Snowden is a traitor who gave away all kinds of secrets to our enemies, thus endangering the society. For others, he is a courageous American activist, who put his life on the line to the violations of the U.S. Constitution.

Holder reflected on the nuance of the Snowden case by saying that, "... doing what he did — and the way he did it — was inappropriate and illegal." In the eyes of the U.S. government, Snowden jeopardized America's security interests by leaking classified information while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency in 2013.

"He harmed American interests," Holder said.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took issue with “the way” Snowden exposed information. But what actually happened to those who worked through the traditional channels and revealed wrongdoings to their superiors?

Thomas Drake, a senior NSA person who complained about wrongdoings by the NSA to his superiors, discovered that telling the truth to his superiors will not solve the problem. He was arrested, charged with severe crimes, his superiors lied to a federal judge and withheld information from the court, and he faced financial ruin. He later found a job as a simple worker at an Apple store with his reputation destroyed (The Guardian, “How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers”).

John Crane, a Pentagon official whose job was to protect whistleblowers found to his shock that he was eventually prosecuted himself. He was made to resign in 2013. (The Intercept, Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga).

According to Mark Hertsgaard, Snowden learned from the mistakes made by Drake and that was what saved him. Hertsgaard told The Intercept: “When people look at Edward Snowden, he’s the most famous. What they don’t realize is just how exceptional he is. He actually got his message out and he lived to tell the tale. … That is highly unusual. In most cases, whistleblowers pay with their lives to save ours.”

Next year, results of a new Department of Justice investigation into how the Department of Defense treats whistleblowers will become public. One should be forgiven for not holding his breath, but Holder  should examine how past whistleblowers were treated before suggesting that Snowden “harmed American interests.”

 

Read more

Related ARTICLES

New Silk Road or New World War for NATO Colonies?

New Silk Road or New World War for NATO Colonies?

The Trans-Atlantic community is now faced with a choice which, if answered incorrectly, may condemn humanity to an early extinction

03 June 2016

by Matthew Ehret-Kump

If Donald is the “Deliverer,” could Hillary be God's punishment for Satan?

If Donald is the “Deliverer,” could Hillary be God's punishment for Satan?

The presidential race in the U.S. is turning out to be the most interesting in recent history. 

02 June 2016

by Satori Wolstenholme

Fear For Civilians As Islamic State Halts Iraqi Army At Gates Of Fallujah

Fear For Civilians As Islamic State Halts Iraqi Army At Gates Of Fallujah

Although most of Fallujah’s population is believed to have fled, 50,000 people are still thought to be trapped inside with limited access to food, water or healthcare

31 May 2016

POPULAR ARTICLES

Not Found

OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

chief editor

Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

Materials: 42

Specialization: Israel and the Middle East, US politics

Materials: 7

Specialization: Balkans, NATO and EU policies, Strategic communications

Materials: 3

Specialization: Foreign politics, Immigration, Human rights.

Materials: 2

Specialization: Political Science, Social Anthropology

Materials: 3

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Materials: 14

Specialization: Industrial Safety, Corporations

Materials: 12

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Materials: 3

Specialization: American history, way of life, and principles

Danielle Ryan

Ireland

Materials: 10

Specialization: US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias

Materials: 20

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

Materials: 8

Specialization: Modern Japanese History, Modern Chinese History, Military History, History of Counterinsurgency, History of Disobedience, Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime

Dovid Katz

Lithuania

Materials: 3

Specialization: Holocaust Revisionism and Geopolitics; East European Far Right & Human Rights; Yiddish Studies & Litvak Culture

Materials: 20

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Materials: 5

Materials: 3

Specialization: migration, international relations

Materials: 1

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy and strategies, BRICS/SCO

Materials: 19

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Materials: 10

Specialization: Jihadist Groups, Islamic Terrorism, Global Security

Materials: 4

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 4

Specialization: Media and government relations

Materials: 2

Specialization: Latin America, Brazil

Jay Watts

Canada

Materials: 2

Specialization: History, Marxism-Leninism, Imperialism, Anti-imperialism.

Materials: 2

Specialization: International Relations, Sociology, Geostrategy

Materials: 1

Specialization: civil rights

Lionel Baland

Belgium

Materials: 22

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Maram Susli

Australia

Materials: 3

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights, Racism, US politics

Materials: 1

Specialization: geopolitics, economics

Max J. Schindler

Palestine-Israel

Materials: 9

Specialization: Politics

Miray Aslan

Turkey

Materials: 12

Specialization: Media, Politics

Materials: 5

Specialization: Politics, International relations

Navid Nasr

Croatia

Materials: 13

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Materials: 9

Specialization: Development of European Union, Non-governmental organizations, Politics and economics in Baltic States

Materials: 9

Specialization: Greece, Crisis of the US hegemony; Israel / Occupied Palestine, Oppression of Black people in the US

Materials: 4

Specialization: geopolitics, Russia, USSR

Pedro Marin

Brazil

Materials: 17

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Materials: 13

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Materials: 8

Specialization: Politics

Materials: 16

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Seyit Aldogan

Greece

Materials: 3

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

Materials: 1

Specialization: Head of "Srebrenica Historical Project"

Materials: 3

Specialization: Economy, Social politics

Stevan Gajic

Serbia

Materials: 1

Specialization: Full time researcher at the Institute for European Studies

Materials: 5

Specialization: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights

Tobias Nase

Germany

Materials: 8

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

Valerijus Simulik

Lithuania

Materials: 2

Specialization: Politics and economics in Baltic States, education and science, non - governmental organizations, globalization and EU

Van Gelis

Greece

Materials: 17

Specialization: Middle East

Materials: 1

Specialization: Kosovo, Serbia, Belgrad bombing

Materials: 5

Specialization: international relations, Russia

toTop