Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can 'Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make'
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Secondly, just let me make this point about the complete ignorance of Michael Hayden. He said in that clip that Edward Snowden should now be deemed to be a traitor because he’s engaged in treason by virtue of having offered asylum in exchange for documents. Let’s assume he really did do that. Go and look at what the Constitution defines treason as being. It is very clear. It says treason is the giving of aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States — the enemies of the United States. So, even if you want to believe Michael Hayden’s lie that Edward Snowden offered information and documents in exchange for asylum to Germany and Brazil, are Germany and Brazil enemies of the United States? It’s not treason even if you believe the lies of Michael Hayden.
Thirdly, I think the real question here is: Why do we even have to have the discussion of Edward Snowden needing amnesty and asylum from other countries or needing amnesty from the United States? What he did is not like Aldrich Ames or Hanssen or anybody else like that. He didn’t sell these documents to foreign adversary governments, as he could have, and lived the rest of his life extremely rich. He brought them to some of the leading journalistic organizations in the world and asked that they be published only in a way that will inform his fellow citizens and the rest of the world about what is being done to their privacy. It is classic whistleblowing behavior. And the real question is: Why are whistleblowers in the United States either prosecuted vindictively and extremely or forced to flee the country in order to avoid being in a cage for the rest of their life? That’s the real question.
And the final thing I want to say is, you know, all this talk about amnesty for Edward Snowden, and it’s so important that the rule of law be applied to him, it’s really quite amazing. Here’s Michael Hayden. He oversaw the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program implemented under the Bush administration. He oversaw torture and rendition as the head of the CIA. James Clapper lied to the face of Congress. These are felonies at least as bad, and I would say much worse, than anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing, and yet they’re not prosecuted. They’re free to appear on television programs. The United States government in Washington constantly gives amnesty to its highest officials, even when they commit the most egregious crimes. And yet the idea of amnesty for a whistleblower is considered radical and extreme. And that’s why a hardened felon like Michael Hayden is free to walk around on the street and is treated on American media outlets as though he’s some learned, wisdom-drenched elder statesman, rather than what he is, which is a chronic criminal.
AG: Finally, Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU is the legal adviser for Edward Snowden — Ben Wizner of the ACLU. What is going on behind the scenes right now? Is there a discussion between Snowden and the U.S. government around the issue of amnesty?
JJ: Well, I think that Edward Snowden has been very direct and very open about his intentions and what he wants from the U.S. government. He would like to come back to the United States. Obviously, he doesn’t want to come back under the conditions that are being offered right now.
I think that Michael Hayden’s statements were really irresponsible and outrageous. I mean, the idea that Edward Snowden has damaged national security is ludicrous. And it’s not that Edward Snowden has exposed just secrets of the NSA; he has exposed, as Glenn says, the lies of the NSA. James — the director of national intelligence, Mr. Clapper, testified to Congress that the NSA wasn’t collecting information about millions of Americans. It turns out that they were. The solicitor general told the Supreme Court that the NSA was providing notice to criminal defendants who had been surveilled. Turns out they weren’t. So it’s all these misrepresentations about the NSA’s activities that Edward Snowden has exposed, and I think that’s a great public service. I think it’s a travesty that Edward Snowden is in Russia. And we’re hopeful that he’ll be able to return to the United States, not in — not to face criminal charges, but rather with the kind of amnesty that he deserves.