No Deal With Snowden
January 30, 2014
I didn’t want to discuss the continued threats and whining of Edward Snowden. He clearly seeks to influence a perceived debate in this country on whether he is a whistleblower or a criminal traitor subject to prosecution. So far the government has stood firm. He is charged as a criminal who will be prosecuted when in custody.
Snowden upped the ante a few weeks ago when he announced he stored a “doomsday-cache” of the stolen NSA data, which he encrypted, on the internet. It will be released “if anything happens to him.” Snowden asserts this material is even more damaging than any released by him so far. A former Director of the NSA and other top officials in the intelligence community state they believe Snowden’s threat is credible and he probably has such information.
It was disappointing to hear one high ranking intelligence official suggest we might have to consider a deal with Snowden to avoid further destruction to our intelligence program. At the same time Snowden complains publicly he cannot get a “fair trial” in the US. Many around the world have more confidence in our criminal justice system than does Snowden. Snowden appeals to those in fear of his threats by demanding he be treated as a whistleblower.
As a country we decided early on we cannot negotiate with terrorists. No matter how hard this is to accept in practice, it is a most difficult but necessary course of action.
I submit Snowden is acting like a terrorist with his latest threats while suggesting he wants to return to the US if only he could get that “fair trial.” Therefore, we should treat him like a terrorist. A physical attack upon the NSA by real terrorists would have done less damage than what Snowden has done to date and offers to do in the future.
Snowden’s real damage has already been done. He can embarrass us more but most of our adversaries now have a good idea of what to change, what to avoid, and where to plant false intelligence. Whether true or not, most of the world now believes the US spies on everyone all the time without restriction. Other countries, friends or not, who are unable to do likewise only wish they could! If we kept secrets we should not have, or if we gathered intelligence improperly, I would rather have that come out and deal with the consequences than ever cut a deal with Snowden. You can never satisfy a bully, a blackmailer, or extortionist. You will never satisfy the demands of Edward Snowden. Don’t bother trying.