Ed Snowden Explains To Former Senator, Who Emailed In Support, That No Foreign Gov't Can Access His Documents

from the aiding-the-enemy? dept

While the government and defenders of the NSA surveillance program continue to want to paint Ed Snowden out to be a spy and trying to "aid the enemy," public opinion continues to side with Snowden and believe that he's a clear whistleblower, calling attention to government excess. Glenn Greenwald has published a fascinating email exchange between Snowden and former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who apparently sent an unsolicited email to Snowden to thank him for exposing government wrongs.

Mr. Snowden,

Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.

Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion.

I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere.

Kindly acknowledge this message, so that I will know it reached you.

Regards,
Gordon J. Humphrey
Former United States Senator
New Hampshire

Think about this for a second. Here is a former US Senator -- a member of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Judiciary Committees -- telling Snowden that he supports his effort, agrees that the surveillance program is a "massive violation" of the Constitution, and wishes him well in finding a country that will protect him from the US. That's really rather incredible, but it shows just how far the current US government is taking things in trying to demonize Snowden. Humphrey recognizes that the leak helped expose a questionable program, hasn't "aided our enemies" and is supporting Snowden remaining outside the hands of US law enforcement.

Snowden's response, by the way, is quite eloquent, and presents Snowden's arguments even better than I've seen him express them elsewhere. He also, strongly, refutes the claim that many have made that Snowden must have given the contents of the documents he copied to the Chinese or the Russians. He notes that keeping such things secret is his specialty, and he set things up carefully to avoid anyone else getting their hands on the documents:

Mr. Humphrey,

Thank you for your words of support. I only wish more of our lawmakers shared your principles - the actions I've taken would not have been necessary.

The media has distorted my actions and intentions to distract from the substance of Constitutional violations and instead focus on personalities. It seems they believe every modern narrative requires a bad guy. Perhaps it does. Perhaps, in such times, loving one's country means being hated by its government.

If history proves that be so, I will not shy from that hatred. I will not hesitate to wear those charges of villainy for the rest of my life as a civic duty, allowing those governing few who dared not do so themselves to use me as an excuse to right these wrongs.

My intention, which I outlined when this began, is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. I remain committed to that. Though reporters and officials may never believe it, I have not provided any information that would harm our people - agent or not - and I have no intention to do so.

Further, no intelligence service - not even our own - has the capacity to compromise the secrets I continue to protect. While it has not been reported in the media, one of my specializations was to teach our people at DIA how to keep such information from being compromised even in the highest threat counter-intelligence environments (i.e. China).

You may rest easy knowing I cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture.

With my thanks for your service to the nation we both love,

Edward Snowden

Of course, it's one thing to claim that they cannot get access to the documents, and a different thing to actually keep those documents safe. However, given everything Snowden has done so far, it's shown that he was exceptionally careful in how he's acted with the release of the documents to date, and I have little doubt that he's taken significant precautions to keep them out of the hands of those governments, contrary to the claims of those who are seeking to tar and feather him.

Separately, Greenwald contacted Humphrey to confirm the email, and Humphrey provided even more on his thoughts about Snowden which are worth publishing:

Mr. Greenwald,

Yes. It was I who sent the email message to Edward Snowden, thanking him for exposing astonishing violations of the US Constitution and encouraging him to persevere in the search for asylum.

To my knowledge, Mr. Snowden has disclosed only the existence of a program and not details that would place any person in harm's way. I regard him as a courageous whistle-blower.

I object to the monumentally disproportionate campaign being waged by the U.S. Government against Edward Snowden, while no effort is being made to identify, remove from office and bring to justice those officials who have abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States and the rights of millions of unsuspecting citizens.

Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out.

Regards,
Gordon Humphrey

It seems unfortunate that we live in a country where the reaction to Snowden is considered reasonable by some. Yes, the government is clearly embarrassed by the leaks, but that's because it's now clear they were hiding things that either they shouldn't not have done in the first place, or which should never have been hidden. Embarrassment is a terrible feeling, but it's no excuse for turning a whistleblower into a fugitive.

Filed Under: asylum, constitution, ed snowden, encryption, glenn greenwald, gordon humphrey, nsa, nsa surveillance, security, whistleblower


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  1. icon
    Wally (profile), 17 Jul 2013 @ 7:45am

    Security clearance

    I'm very glad he's keeping the information preserved.

    Here's the thing I'm seeing...and please understand I'm completely for what Snowden is doing. He has information that he likely had to go above his own security clearance to obtain. While policies are not one bit classifiable information, the procedures in this case are. These procedures give information on how to access the metadata the NSA has collected. While he did in fact legally blow the whistle, his security clearance was not that of obtaining the encryption codes to access said procedures.

    The only illegal part was obtaining the information and moving it off the premises without proper security clearance.

    Now before anyone jumps on me for pointing this out, it should be noted that law makers and the US Government and major media are conflating all this to make it look like Snowden is a dangerous James Bond like spy who just lost his license to kill and has gone rogue. I hate conflation.

    In my view, because Snowden is keeping preserved (meaning he's keeping the data he has that can be used against us quite safe), he should be cleared of all charges of espionage and honestly, everything else the US Government has accused him of thus far.

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