Deal to drop espionage charges against Snowden unlikely: Lawmakers

Senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers assert that it is unlikely the United States will drop espionage charges against National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, a report says.

While privacy advocates and some members of Congress hailed Snowden as a whistleblower when he revealed details about NSA spying programs, senior lawmakers say he waived his whistleblower defense by fleeing the country, The Hill reports.

Analysts say that Snowden’s leverage to negotiate a favorable deal with the Justice Department is also undermined by the expectation that his asylum in Russia would last for only one year.

“I think we have existing whistleblower capabilities here in the United States. On a regular basis, whistleblowers come forward, give information to Congress, and we attempt to address those issues,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on ABC’s, “This Week.”

“Going to China and going to Russia was not the solution to the problem. It compounds our difficulties in the United States with respect to al-Qaeda,” he added.

Snowden arrived in Russia from Hong Kong on June 23 and remained in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for more than one month before being granted temporary asylum on August 1.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Snowden’s actions have hurt US national security by revealing intelligence methods to the nation’s enemies.

“The reality is, I don’t think he needed to undermine America’s national security to pursue whatever he thought his conscience led him to do,” he said. “And I do believe there’s a process by which he could have ultimately pursued his interest in a way that doesn’t undermine the national security of the United States.”

Lon Snowden, the NSA leaker’s father, urged his son on Sunday not to cut any deal with the US government.

“What I would like is for this to be vetted in open court for the American people to have all of the facts,” Lon Snowden told ABC in an interview. “What I have seen is much political theater.”

“The only deal will be true justice. You know, justice should be the goal of our government and is also the goal of a civil society,” he said.

During a press conference on Friday, President Barack Obama said he had signed an executive order before “Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligent committee for the first time, so there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and felt they needed to question government actions.”

Lon Snowden said, “either the president is being misled by his advisers or he is intentionally misleading the American people.”

By Press TV

 

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