Surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden took a shot at US politicians, and the media outlets covering them, for failing to consistently support those who come forward with claims of official corruption or wrongdoing.
The famed ex-National Security Agency analyst sent out the criticism in a tweet on Wednesday, arguing that a deluge of recent statements from lawmakers on the virtues of whistleblowing rang hollow in the face of their poor records on the issue. He singled out the ongoing legal case of analyst-turned-leaker Daniel Hale.
“Unbelievable that in a moment where politicians are making daily media statements about ‘supporting whistleblowers,’ the media is not pressing them on the case of Daniel Hale, who is being prosecuted RIGHT NOW for blowing the whistle on enormously controversial drone programs,” Snowden said.
Hale was charged under the Espionage Act in May – which carries a possible death penalty – for his role in leaks of classified material on Washington’s drone program, believed to have been passed to the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill. While the Department of Justice slammed the leaks as “thievery, not protected speech” earlier this week, Hale’s defense team says the material in question was improperly classified, suggesting the government may have kept it under wraps “solely to protect the Executive Branch from embarrassment.”
Snowden – who was stranded in Russia when his passport was revoked by US officials in 2013 following his own leaks of classified NSA documents – also faces charges under the Espionage Act.
Snowden’s criticism comes on the heels of impeachment proceedings launched by House Democrats last week over allegations the president tried to coerce his Ukrainian counterpart to target an electoral rival with a corruption probe. The controversy was thrust into the spotlight by a CIA officer working in the White House, who brought the allegations to higher-ups, and has since been hailed as a “whistleblower” across US media.