Posts Tagged ‘edward snowden’

JAMES WOOLSEY: SNOWDEN SHOULD BE ‘HANGED’ IF CONVICTED OF TREASON

December 20, 2013

Fox News on September 17, 2013, reported that former CIA Director James Woolsey had harsh words for anyone thinking about giving Edward Snowden amnesty, and argued the NSA leaker should be “hanged” if he’s ever tried and convicted of treason. Excerpts below:

Woolsey, along with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton, spoke in Washington in an interview with Fox News.

“I think giving him amnesty is idiotic,” Woolsey said. “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”
Shelton called the prospect of giving Snowden amnesty a “grave error.”

The reaction comes after an official with the NSA task force assessing the leaks floated the idea of allowing Snowden safe passage back to the United States in exchange for a promise to end further leaking.

White House spokesman Jay Carney did not indicate any change in the administration’s stance calling for Snowden to turn himself in to face charges. “It remains our view that Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and that he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee, said in a preliminary ruling, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

US DENIES CLEMENCY TO NSA LEAKER EDWARD SNOWDEN

November 4, 2013

Fox News on November 3, 2013, reported that a plea for clemency made by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who fled to Russia after leaking classified information about surveillance methods used by the United States, was rejected by the White House as well as the heads of the top intelligence agencies in the country. Excerpts below:

That’s the message Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer relayed on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that no such offers for clemency are being discussed and that Snowden should return to the U.S. and face charges.

“Look, Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law,” Pfeiffer said. “Our belief has always been that he should return to the U.S. and face justice.”

Pfeiffer’s comments were echoed by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan who called clemency for Snowden “a terrible idea.”

Feinstein says Snowden broke the law, when he could have privately reported his revelations to her committee.

“I would welcome Snowden being brought back here,” said former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden,…

Rogers calls clemency for Snowden a “terrible idea.”

Snowden, who has temporary asylum in Russia, made the plea in a letter released on November 1.

US REVOKES NSA LEAKER SNOWDEN’S PASSPORT, AS HE REPORTEDLY SEEKS ASYLUM IN ECUADOR

June 24, 2013

Fox News on June 23, 2013, reported that WikiLeaks said Sunday it is helping Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secrets about the federal government’s surveillance program, to seek asylum in Ecuador. Excerpts below:

The announcement came as a source confirmed to Fox News that the United States revoked Snowden’s passport.

Snowden took flight in evasion of U.S. authorities, seeking asylum in Ecuador and leaving the Obama administration scrambling to determine its next step in what became a game of diplomatic cat-and-mouse.

The former National Security Agency contractor and CIA technician fled Hong Kong and arrived at the Moscow airport, where he planned to spend the night before boarding an Aeroflot flight to Cuba. Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his government received an asylum request from Snowden, and WikiLeaks said it would help him.

“He goes to the very countries that have, at best, very tense relationships with the United States,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., adding that she feared Snowden would trade more U.S. secrets for asylum. “This is not going to play out well for the national security interests of the United States.”

“The United States has been in touch via diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries in the Western Hemisphere through which Snowden might transit or that could serve as final destinations,” a State Dept. official told Fox News. “The U.S. is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”

Snowden has been in hiding for several weeks in Hong Kong, a former British colony with a high degree of autonomy from mainland China. The United States formally sought Snowden’s extradition from Hong Kong but was rebuffed; Hong Kong officials said the U.S. request did not fully comply with their laws.

The Justice Department rejected that claim, saying its request met all of the requirements of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hong Kong.

During conversations last week, including a phone call between Attorney General Eric Holder and Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong officials never raised any issues regarding sufficiency of the U.S. request, a Justice spokesperson said.

A State Department official said the United States was in touch through diplomatic and law enforcement channels with countries that Snowden could travel through or to, reminding them that

Snowden is wanted on criminal charges and reiterating Washington’s position that Snowden should only be permitted to travel back to the U.S.

The Justice Department said it would “pursue relevant law enforcement cooperation with other countries where Mr. Snowden may be attempting to travel.”

Upon his arrival, Snowden did not leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. One explanation could be that he wasn’t allowed; a U.S. official said Snowden’s passport had been revoked, and special permission from Russian authorities would have been needed.

“It’s almost hopeless unless we find some ways to lean on them,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

The Russian media report said Snowden intended to fly to Cuba on Monday and then on to Caracas, Venezuela.

U.S. lawmakers scoffed. “The freedom trail is not exactly China-Russia-Cuba-Venezuela, so I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there’ll be consequences if they harbor this guy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia, but does with Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador. Even with an extradition agreement though, any country could give Snowden a political exemption.

The likelihood that any of these countries would stop Snowden from traveling on to Ecuador seemed unlikely. While diplomatic tensions have thawed in recent years, Cuba and the United States are hardly allies after a half century of distrust.

Venezuela, too, could prove difficult. Former President Hugo Chavez was a sworn enemy of the United States and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, earlier this year called Obama “grand chief of devils.” The two countries do not exchange ambassadors.

U.S. pressure on Caracas also might be problematic given its energy exports. The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports Venezuela sent the United States 900,000 barrels of crude oil each day in 2012, making it the fourth-largest foreign source of U.S. oil.

“I think 10 percent of Snowden’s issues are now legal, and 90 percent political,” said Douglas McNabb, an expert in international extradition and a senior principal at international criminal defense firm McNabb Associates.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States,” Schumer said. “That’s not how allies should treat one another, and I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she had been told Snowden had perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents.

US GOVERNMENT FILES CHARGES, INCLUDING THEFT, AGAINST NSA SECRETS LEAKER SNOWDEN

June 22, 2013

Fox News on June 22, 2013, reported that Federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden, charging him with theft and communicating classified intelligence information to an unauthorized person, Fox News confirms. Excerpts below:

The complaint, obtained by Fox News, was filed June 14 in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The U.S. also had asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The three-count complaint includes “theft of government property,” “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications of intelligence information to an unauthorized person.” The latter two are charges under the Espionage Act.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said: “I fully support the efforts of the United States government to indict and prosecute Edward Snowden to the fullest extent of the law. He has betrayed his country and the government must demand his extradition at the earliest date.”

It was unclear whether the U.S. had made an extradition request. Hong Kong had no immediate reaction to word of the charges against Snowden.

The Espionage Act arguably is a political offense. The Obama administration has now used the act in eight criminal cases in an unprecedented effort to stem leaks. In one of them, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning acknowledged he sent more than 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and other materials to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. His military trial is underway.

The U.S. and Hong Kong have a standing agreement on the surrender of fugitives. However, Snowden’s appeal rights could drag out any extradition proceeding.

The success or failure of any extradition proceeding depends on what the suspect is charged with under U.S. law and how it corresponds to Hong Kong law under the treaty. In order for Hong Kong officials to honor the extradition request, they have to have some applicable statute under their law that corresponds with a violation of U.S. law.