America–and the world–was shocked when we learned the NSA and other federal agencies were conducting sweeping surveillance.
The documents that proved their gross disregard for the Constitution were leaked by former NSA contractor Eric Snowden in 2013.
The reaction from the Obama-lead government was severe.
Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General at the time, called it treason. Everyone from the president to the military wanted Snowden’s head. He did the only logical thing and fled the country to Russia, where he lives to this day.
As time marches on and more Americans understand the violations the government committed, public opinion is changing.
Snowden is regarded by many as a hero or at least a needed whistle blower. What he intended to do was expose what their government was doing. Job well done.
Now it seems people within the government are changing their tune as well.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques… “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
That’s quite the turnaround from just three years ago. When the documents leaked, Snowden could have faced charges of treason, the punishment being execution.
Now the man who would have prosecuted him on behalf of the government is saying he did the right thing?
Perhaps it’s because Holden is no longer Attorney General. Perhaps public opinion has changed enough that the government can’t keep a strong a stance as before. Or perhaps it is a clever rouse to get Snowden to come back to America.
Snowden, who has spent the last few years in exile in Russia, should return to the U.S. to deal with the consequences, Holder noted.
“I think that he’s got to make a decision. He’s broken the law in my view. He needs to get lawyers, come on back, and decide, see what he wants to do: Go to trial, try to cut a deal. I think there has to be a consequence for what he has done.”
Something tells me Snowden isn’t coming back anytime soon. Why should he? He’s relatively safe overseas; no one is prosecuting him in Russia.
Although Holden has lessened his stance on the matter, he still claims Snowden must face trial.
I think Snowden is smart enough to wait a bit longer. Give it a few more years, we’ll see the U.S. government offering him a full pardon.
Hey, if they’ve come this far, why not go the whole way?