What does the term ‘whistleblower’ mean to you? A vigilante? An infamous truth-monger? Or a traitor? Whether you make up your mind or not, Donald Trump will soon, and when he does, Edward Snowden 2020 might finally get away with his actions. Trump recently told in an interview with the New York Post that he is thinking about arranging a pardon for the leaker of classified state documents. The presidential decision on this case will have a definitive impact on both surveillance institutions’ operations and leakers as the like of Snowden.A pardon will more than likely make USA news search engine a whistleblower’s paradise.
Edward Snowden Notorious Case Update 2020
Edward Snowden’s notorious case just became more interesting recently when Donald Trump expressed his inclination to declare pardon for the former contractor of the CIA twice in the third week of August 2020. Trump stated in a conference he attended in New Jersey that he is aware of how a lot of people think that he should somehow be treated in a different manner, and how other people think he did some very bad things and that he will take a good look at that matter. He also gave a similar statement to the New York Post, “There are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly. I mean I hear that”. This sudden shift in President Trump’s viewpoint comes coincidentally close to elections as many citizens have praised his work and made him a national hero.
A high-school dropout, Snowden found his aptitude for computers when he enrolled at Anne Arundel. He was a genius with incomparable tech skills. Within months of working at the NSA as a security guard, Snowden switched to the IT department and got an offer from the CIA. He must have made some impression! Little did he know at the time that saying ‘yes’ to this offer was going to change his life forever.
Soon after his appointment, Snowden started realizing how the NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance Edward Snowden CIA IT system expert were violating the privacy rights of citizens. The most notorious claims include hacking any mobile phone and using it as a microphone to spy on the owner and how almost every social media platform had been compromised exposing all your desires, dreams, frustrations, loves, and even your movie selections. Privacy is just an illusion!
After a long and hard period of struggling with containing all this information and feeling the weight of moral dilemmas, Snowden finally decided to expose USA surveillance systems and the world met the most shocking story in the history of America post 911. While the whistle blower managed to flee to Russia and seek refuge, NSA faced a lot of criticism from the citizens as riots exploded all over the country over privacy rights. The story triggered a meltdown in the NSA headquarters.
Though the extent of Snowden’s theft remains unknown to this day, the NSA estimated a total of 1.7 million documents to be missing, of which only about one percent has been released. The location or survival of these documents remains a mystery as Snowden claims to have taken none to Russia. On June, 14th 2013, the US Justice Department charged the missing contractor with espionage.
As he lives in Russia on a “temporary refugee” status in the present day, President Donald Trump’s possible decision to pardon Snowden has invoked strong criticism and opposition from various sources. Leaders of the House Armed Service Committee said that the act of pardon would be a “serious mistake”.Rep. Mac Thornberry stated that a pardon for the fugitive will represent a very weak position of the administration and will also reflect a very bad image of national security, a workforce that takes great caution to make us feel safe and protected. In another joint statement on August 16, 2020; Thornberry and Smith said that what Snowden did was enormous harm to the National Security of America and he must stand trial for his actions.
They further added that pardoning the leaker will send a very dangerous message to others who might be contemplating espionage and the forces who would support them. Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted on the same day stating “Edward Snow-den is a traitor and responsible for the largest and most dangerously damaging leak of classified information in human history. Pardoning him would be unconscionable.”
Security and surveillance agencies’ response to a potential pardon is just as expected and we might even hate them for it as a breach of privacy is condemned by all of us, making these institutes who are supposed to be our watchers and protectors the real evil. But their concerns are not any less than reasonable.Some great initiatives came out of the Edward Snowden case such as the formation of an independent panel for the examination of US surveillance practices and bulk collection of data was suspended as unconstitutional in 2013.
NSA operates under close congressional oversight today. This incident also led to the creation of the European Union’s GDPR data protection laws. But on the darker side, intelligence agencies of USA claim that the damage was done by these leaks irreparable as trust was lost between nations, and the thug groups were basically presented with all the intimate knowledge of NSA operations on a platter.
Whether the pros outweigh the cons or not, the case of Edward Snowden has taught us one important lesson. It is the lesson of proper regulation and check and balance of even those agencies that have the role to protect us. Someone has to watch the watchers too. This pardon will be a double-edged sword, it may instill great courage in those who are silenced by shadow corporations. On the other hand, it can also encourage the actual trouble makers to commit highly damaging acts of espionage.