Lies, Spies & A Nobel Prize
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for revealing some of the government’s most closely guarded secrets. Snowden was nominated by two Norwegian politicians, Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen who stated that his revelations “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
Solhjell and Valen also said, “There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term” but that, “His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies.”
If he wins, Snowden would be amongst laureates such as Barack Obama, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Mother Theresa, Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel and many others.
More than anyone else in recent years, Snowden has revealed to the American public the depth of spying that goes on at the NSA. Records that Snowden unearthed showed an unprecedented amount of data that the institution collects on not only foreign government leaders such as Angela Merkel, but average citizens and their habits through the collection of metadata.
Snowden currently has temporary asylum in Russia, and recently stated that he would not return to the United States for fear that he would be unable to receive a fair trial. President Obama has declined to aggressively pursue the extradition of Snowden stating, “This is not exceptional from a legal perspective. I’m not going to have one case suddenly being elevated to the point where I have to do wheeling and dealing and trading.”
The NSA has been rocked by allegations of warrantless searches. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon recently questioned NSA Director James Clapper about the collection of data, pressing him to give answers about the agencies domestic surveillance activities.
“Can you tell us today whether any such searches have ever been conducted?” Wyden asked.
“Senator Wyden, I think, at a threat hearing, this would … I would prefer not to discuss this and have this as a separate subject. There are very complex legal issues here, I just don’t think this is the appropriate time or place,” Clapper said.
Clapper did major damage to his reputation in that hearing by apparently lying to congress in that session when he stated that the government did “not wittingly” collect data on Americans, a lie for which he would later apologize. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has repeatedly stated that the only way that someone like Snowden should receive punishment under the law is if Clapper does as well.
Six legislators led by Congressman Darrell Issa of California wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking for Clapper’s resignation: “The continued role of James Clapper as director of national intelligence is incompatible with the goal of restoring trust in our security programs and ensuring the highest level of transparency” they wrote.
President Obama has declined to dismiss Clapper.