Whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who has been in exile in Russia since releasing documents exposing the spying capability of the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, desires to return home and face the music for his controversial actions that have made him the scorn of the deep state.
“I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defense,” Snowden said during an interview with “CBS This Morning.”
Snowden is releasing a memoir, “Permanent Record,” in which he details his life in Russia and explains in detail his motives behind exposing the NSA’s ubiquitous spying program.
“Again, I’m not asking for a parade. I’m not asking for a pardon. I’m not asking for a pass. What I’m asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require,” Snowden said.
“We don’t want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong. The government wants to have a different kind of trial. They want to use special procedures they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what’s going on,” he added.
If he can actually secure a fair trial of his peers, Snowden believes that a jury would acquit him for exposing government behavior that was committed in total secrecy and violated the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“And, essentially, the most important fact to the government and this is the thing we have a point of contention on, is that they do not want the jury to be able to consider the motivations. Why I did what I did. Was it better for the United States? Did it benefit us or did it cause harm? They don’t want the jury to consider that at all,” Snowden said.
“They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong. And I’m sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial,” he added.
While Snowden has been charged under the Espionage Act and the deep state has claimed that his disclosures have “caused tremendous damage to national security,” Snowden maintains that those allegations are baseless.
“They never show evidence for it even though we’re now more than 6 years on, it would be the easiest thing in the world to show. We’ve never heard that story,” Snowden explained. “If they had some classified evidence that a hair on a single person’s head was harmed, you know as well as I do, it would be on the front page of The New York Times by the end of the day.”
He also addressed claims that he violated an oath of secrecy that he supposedly took when he worked for the CIA. Snowden maintains that he only took an oath to the Constitution, and he sacrificed greatly to fulfill that oath when he exposed the NSA’s systemic wrongdoing.
“One of the common misconceptions in one of the earlier attacks, that we heard in 2015, that we don’t hear of so much anymore is that I violated this oath of secrecy. That does not exist. There is a secrecy agreement, but there is also an oath of service,” Snowden said.
“An oath of service is to support and defend, not an agency, not even the president, it is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies – direct quote – foreign and domestic. And this begs the question, what happens when our obligations come into conflict,” he added.
“Permanent Record” is available for sale today.
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