Should Edward Snowden Spend Life in Prison?


More people than ever oppose the NSA practices Edward Snowden revealed. Why should he spend his life in prison?

The Guardian’s riveting video interview with Edward Snowden this week ended with one of the biggest unresolved question in the debate over Snowden’s decision to leak classified information about the NSA to journalists more than a year ago: what will happen if and when he can ultimately return to the United States?

Alan Rusbridger: Are you confident that if you went back to the US and were tried in front of a jury of your peers that you would be acquitted?

Edward Snowden: I think it would be very difficult to find any 12 Americans in the United States right now who would uniformly agree that the last year’s revelations about the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs did not serve the public interest.

It’s hard to disagree with Snowden’s characterization. The reporting on the Snowden files has led to a sea change in public opinion about privacy and, more than a year later, opposition to some of the NSA’smost controversial practices is at an all-time high.

The near reversal in public opinion comes after Snowden’s revelations revealed multiple intelligence officials lying to Congress and the Justice Department lying to the Supreme Court. They led to a slew of privacy and transparency lawsuits and pushed the House of Representatives to directly reject one of NSA’s formerly-secret loopholes. They evensparked a mini-revolution at the tech companies – many of whom were accused of previously colluding with the NSA – causing them to significantly reform encryption protections for their users. Snowden’s biggest detractors – including FISA court judges and Director of Intelligence James Clapper – have come out and admitted that the debate stemming from his leaks was important. President Obamaremarked, “One thing I’m certain of: this debate will make us stronger.”

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