Snow­den’s leaks

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Le­niency for Snow­den?,” Ed­i­to­rial, June 4

Although your ed­i­to­rial en­cour­ages Ed­ward Snow­den to re­turn to the United States and stand trial, it ar­gues that the Amer­i­can peo­ple have the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency leaker to thank for sur­veil­lance dis­clo­sure. True. So do ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions around the world.

On June 28, 2013, The Times it­self pub­lished the head­line “NSA leaks’ harm cited.” The ar­ti­cle re­ported, “Sus­pected ter­ror­ists have changed how they com­mu­ni­cate and have be­come more dif­fi­cult to track as a re­sult of for­mer con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den’s dis­clo­sures about U.S. sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent and for­mer of­fi­cials who say that the changes have led to a sig­nif­i­cant loss of in­tel­li­gence.”

Snow­den put the United States at risk. His dis­clo­sure was a game-changer. He ef­fec­tively helped ter­ror­ists evade NSA de­tec­tion. That con­sti­tutes es­pi­onage. He could have pri­vately com­mu­ni­cated his con­cerns to con­gres­sional lead­ers, but in­stead he in­formed the en­tire world.

If Snow­den comes home to face the mu­sic, it is a big stretch to ar­gue for le­niency based on the no­tion that he did the United States a fa­vor.

Wil­liam Gold­man, Pa­los Verdes Es­tates

Your pro­posal that Snow­den should now “re­turn to this coun­try to face the charges against him” over­looks one key fact:

The Es­pi­onage Act, un­der which he has been charged, does not per­mit a public in­ter­est de­fense. The only ques­tion is whether “in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to the na­tional de­fense” was re­leased with­out au­tho­riza­tion. If Snow­den were on trial and said, “Let me ex­plain why I did this,” the pros­e­cu­tion would say, “Ob­jec­tion: ir­rel­e­vant,” and the judge would say, “Sus­tained”— and Snow­den would be con­victed.

The Es­pi­onage Act charges should be dropped. Snow­den’s “crime” was not pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to enemies of the U.S., but rather to the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Jon Wiener

Los An­ge­les

Man­del Ngan AFP/Getty Images

IN OC­TO­BER 2013, a demon­stra­tor sup­ports for­mer NSA in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst Ed­ward Snow­den.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.