❝ Edward Snowden has told supporters he would be willing to return to the US if the government could guarantee a fair trial.
The former National Security Agency contractor, who has been living in Russia since June 2013, said he would present a public interest defence of his decision to leak thousands of classified intelligence documents if he appeared before a US jury. “I’ve told the government I would return if they would guarantee a fair trial where I can make a public interest defence of why this was done and allow a jury to decide,” Snowden told a libertarian conference, the New Hampshire Liberty Forum…
❝ Snowden has previously spoken of making offers to the government to return home and his willingness to discuss a plea deal and even go to jail. But in an interview on BBC Panorama last year, the whistleblower said the US justice department had made no effort to contact him.
❝ Snowden’s revelations set off an international debate about the balance between security and privacy. Supporters hailed Snowden for exposing what they saw in some cases as an illegal invasion of privacy, while critics believed he hampered the security services’ ability to fight terrorism.
I stopped being surprised that supporting constitutional civil liberties requires more than moderate or a liberal political understanding. A young news editor explained the difference to me during a break from night school classes in the late 1950’s. Standing outside a classroom building on an autumn evening, we were continuing a discussion from a literature class – a discussion about free speech. Those were the days of activists being jailed for teaching the right to advocate for revolution.
Take a good look at the structure of that sentence. People were being jailed for discussing revolution. Whether they advocated publicly for revolution, violent or peaceful. We lived at the time in a state whose constitution in fact included the right for citizens – denied peaceful means – to take up arms and overthrow a repressive government.
Don’t worry. A leading Congressional Democrat had that removed several years later.
And I thought I was a “liberal” for defending the free speech challenged by federal law as then practiced. This dude politely explained the difference between folks willing to support the Bill of Rights as long as nothing unpopular was in question – and those who take the Bill of Rights seriously enough to take them as principle as written for all. A progressive position as it turned out.