The Curious Case of Edward Snowden

By Wendy Murray

2014 began with two major newspapers — The New York Times and the Guardian —  calling for clemency for whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who is currently living in exile in Russia. Last summer (2013) Snowden dumped a cache of classified materials into the hands of journalists that documented massive violations of the NSA (National Security Agency) against citizens of the United States and others. At that time I wrote a piece in this blog  supporting him.

These are the reasons the NYTimes call for his clemency:

The New York Times:

“Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. Beyond the mass collection of phone and Internet data, consider just a few of the violations he revealed or the legal actions he provoked:

■ The N.S.A. broke federal privacy laws, or exceeded its authority, thousands of times per year, according to the agency’s own internal auditor.

■ The agency broke into the communications links of major data centers around the world, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts and infuriating the Internet companies that own the centers. Many of those companies are now scrambling to install systems that the N.S.A. cannot yet penetrate.

■ The N.S.A. systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the Internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust.

■ His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March that the N.S.A. was not collecting data on millions of Americans. (There has been no discussion of punishment for that lie.)

■ The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.

■ A federal district judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection program probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. He called the program “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.

Their final statement:

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.” 

This, in part, is what the Guardian wrote:

The Guardian:

Mr Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of some moral courage. Presidents – from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan – have issued pardons. The debate that Mr Snowden has facilitated will no doubt be argued over in the US supreme court. If those justices agree with Mr Obama’s own review panel and Judge Richard Leon in finding that Mr Snowden did, indeed, raise serious matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or, worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could be treated as a traitor or common felon? We hope that calm heads within the present administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr Snowden to return to the US with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.

What are your thoughts on the curious case of Edward Snowden?

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About Wendy Murray

Wendy Murray is a veteran and award-winning journalist. She served as associate editor and Senior Writer at Christianity Today magazine and has written extensively for other publications such as Books & Culture and The Christian Century. She has written 11 books.

  • mhelbert

    I agree with you on this. And, I appreciate your courage to speak out about it. Many Evangelicals can only see the ‘law breaker’ here. Keep up the good work!

    • Wendy Murray

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike. And also for the encouragement.

  • Stephen Hale

    Not sure if the NSA is investigating your article…
    Suspicious of NYT recomending action to Obama…
    But for me there is curiosity where there was none.

    • Wendy Murray

      Thank you for commenting, and for reading, Stephen

  • Peter_J88

    I honestly don’t see why Snowden would even want to go back to the USA. Considering your comments Wendy and the blatant hypocrisy displaced by the government I wonder how safe he would be anyway?
    Anyway… I’m glad he had the balls to expose it all… You’d be naive to think that it wasn’t happening in the first place… It’s great it’s all in the open now. It is a very curious case.

    • Wendy Murray

      Thanks for commenting.


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