President Trump should issue a full pardon to Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who tops the enemies list of the unaccountable anti-American actors in the U.S. intelligence community, otherwise known as the Deep State.
In a series of monumental leaks, Snowden exposed that the Obama administration had been using the supposed authority of the post-9/11 Patriot Act to continue and advance a massive, indiscriminate, unconstitutional data collection program that swept up the communications of millions and millions of Americans and foreigners abroad, using U.S. and global telecommunications infrastructure.
Prior to Snowden’s disclosures, top officials in the U.S. intelligence community, such as former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, explicitly lied to Congress about the existence of these programs. Americans had no idea that their phone conversations, text messages, emails, and other forms of communications were being swept up by their own government and stored indefinitely.
According to reports, the intel chiefs’ series of lies, and the growing sophistication of the data collection program, motivated Snowden to steal classified evidence of the program and flee the United States so he could give the information to reporters.
“We are building the greatest weapon for oppression in the history of man, yet its directors exempt themselves from accountability,” Snowden wrote in an impassioned email to journalist Laura Poitras. “NSA director Keith Alexander lied to congress, which I can prove.”
Intelligence Agencies Control Whistleblowers
Snowden’s detractors—which, before the Trump presidency, included yours truly—make the case that Snowden could have used legal whistleblower protections to disclose the information internally about the data collection programs. Unfortunately, after witnessing the actions of hostile actors in our unaccountable intelligence community over the last four years, I don’t think there’s any way Snowden would have been able to expose the program through a system that relies on our bureaucracy and congressional oversight for protections.
As we’ve seen, only whistleblowers of a certain political persuasion, such as Alexander Vindman, seem to be provided protections. Others, such as Adam Lovinger, are simply thrown to the wolves and never heard from again. Members of Congress have expressed concern about reports of retaliation against whistleblowers.
It’s important to remember that at the time of Snowden’s escape, both parties in Congress were overwhelmingly in favor of the post 9/11 “national security” apparatus surveiling Americans. U.S. intelligence agencies and contractors operated with virtually zero real oversight. The idea that Snowden would have been offered protections from the powers that make up the D.C. security state uniparty coalition is a laughable notion.
Snowden Did the Best He Could With What He Had
Yes, Snowden is far from perfect. He’s a human being. Like all of us, he’s a complicated figure. Snowden’s history reveals a civil libertarian-minded, somewhat anti-social outcast who struggled to fit in. He has his struggles and personality flaws, but also redeeming qualities and some impressive accomplishments. Most importantly, his mixed resume is free of any criminal foreign associations. Unlike, say, famous traitors like Robert Hanssen or Ana Montes, any talk of foreign involvement in his past is completely unsubstantiated.
What Snowden did was both just and necessary. It’s easy for us to review his plan of action and nitpick at how he went about things. There is no perfectly clean way to expose enormously important secrets to the American people.
Snowden claims he took the precautions necessary to not allow for his information to fall into the hands of adversaries, such as the Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies. Can we be certain that is the case? Not at all. Do we have conclusive evidence that Snowden’s cache of information made its way to our enemies? No, we don’t.
After Snowden’s initial leaks hit the press, we were lied to again. The U.S. government claimed it was only sweeping up metadata that did not look at the content of communications but only basic information about the parties involved in conversations and the duration of the exchange of information. This turned out to be another falsehood.
Through its surveillance programs, the government had access to not only the metadata, but the content of emails, the entirety of phone conversations, Google search history, and a variety of other intrusive data collection measures. The system Snowden exposed was capable of tracking virtually everything individuals were doing online or through telecoms networks. No warrant required.
Shortly after Snowden went to Hong Kong, the U.S. government charged Snowden under the Espionage Act, which is for Americans suspected of betraying their country to advance the interests of a foreign power. By labeling Snowden a foreign spy, the government was seeking to delegitimize his authenticity as a whistleblower.
Snowden detractors claim his arrival in Russia is evidence that he was seeking to betray our nation. This could not be further from the truth. When Snowden arrived in Moscow, the U.S. government revoked his passport, leaving him in international limbo.
WikiLeaks, which had arranged for his escape from Hong Kong, had planned on bringing Snowden elsewhere. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has publicly stated that he intended to bring Snowden to Venezuela, Ecuador, Iceland, Nicaragua, or another handful of nations, prior to the U.S. government eliminating his passport.
Unfortunately, Snowden had very few transit options that did not involve being forcibly extradited back home. Moreover, given his Espionage Act charge, Snowden and his legal team have decided he should remain in Russia, as he has more than enough reason to believe he would not be given a fair trial upon his return to the United States. A presidential pardon would certainly change that calculation.
The Deep State Has No Credibility Any More
Prior to the Trump presidency, I was willing and naive enough to give the government the benefit of the doubt that they had information to back up such enormous claims against Snowden. However, after witnessing what elements of our intelligence agencies have attempted to do to the likes of President Trump, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and a variety of other “enemies” of the deep state, I will no longer allow “trust us, he’s guilty” to justify government action ever again.
To date, no evidence has ever surfaced proving that Snowden worked with a foreign power to commit espionage against the United States. It has been more than seven years since Snowden was charged with committing espionage, and the government has never delivered the goods on the charges against him.
If the government had information that Snowden intended on betraying his country, they would have revealed it by now. The same actors who assure us Snowden is a super-secret Russian and Chinese spy later told us that President Trump and Flynn colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election.
Snowden humiliated the deep state, and the deep state responded by playing dirty in baselessly labeling him a traitor to America. Snowden is no traitor. He’s an American hero who risked everything to disclose ongoing, illegal surveillance on U.S. citizens. Snowden deserves a pardon.
Author : Jordan Schachtel
Source : The Federa List : Edward Snowden Is A Hero Who Deserves a Full Pardon
Schumer: Impeachment Trial Will Begin Week Of February 8
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced Friday that former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial will begin the week of February 8th.
“Both the House managers and the defense will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs just as they did in previous trials. …Once the briefs are drafted, the presentation by the parties will commence the week of February 8,” Schumer said in a Senate floor speech.
The development comes after Pelosi announced that the House will send its single article of impeachment to the upper chamber on Monday.
The Hill reports:
Under the agreement between Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the article will be read at 7 p.m. on Monday. Senators will be sworn in Tuesday and a summons will be issued to Trump. Trump’s response to the article and House’s pre-trial brief will be due by Feb. 2, and Trump’s pre-trial brief will be due six days later. The earliest the trial could start is Feb. 9, when the House’s pre-trial rebuttal is also due.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ‘s (R-KY) office expressed satisfaction regarding trial timeline.
“Leader McConnell is glad that Leader Schumer agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase. Especially given the fast and minimal process in the House, Republicans set out to ensure the Senate’s next steps will respect former President Trump’s rights and due process, the institution of the Senate, and the office of the presidency,” McConnell spox Doug Andres said.
Last week, McConnell accused Trump of stoking the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which five people died, including a police officer. “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding … which they did not like,” stated the Kentucky Republican. “But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation.”
McConnell has yet to decide on whether he will vote to convict Trump in the upcoming trial, while some reports suggest that he may have trouble holding on to his long-held leadership post if he votes against the former president.
“If he does, I don’t know if he can stay as leader,” one unnamed senior Republican senator said, reported CNN. The lawmaker told the news outlet that “several of his colleagues held similar views and asked not to be named discussing sensitive internal politics.”
Author : Joshua Caplan
Source : Breitbart : Schumer: Impeachment Trial will Begin Week of February 8
Pro-Trump Senators Go To Battle With Mitch McConnell
Finally, the GOP has grown a spine and is standing up to the recently radicalized Mitch McConnell.
According to reports, there are several Senate Republicans who are Mitch that if he presses on in convicted Trump bin this impeachment trial, then they will no longer support him as leader.
Looks like the shoe is on the other foot Mitch!
Senate Republicans are reportedly firing warning shots ahead of the looming impeachment trial for former President Trump, suggesting that they will no longer be able to support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as leader if he votes to convict the former president.
McConnell has yet to determine how he will vote in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, stating in a letter earlier this month that he intends to “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” His refusal to reveal his leanings and recent determination that Trump and “other powerful people” essentially “provoked” the January 6 mob have appeared to cause a bit of unease among Senate Republicans.
“If he does, I don’t know if he can stay as leader,” one unnamed senior GOP senator said, according to CNN. The senator apparently told the outlet that “several of his colleagues held similar views and asked not to be named discussing sensitive internal politics.”
Similarly, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he would not be able to support McConnell as leader if the Kentucky Republican voted to convict Trump.
“‘No, no, no,’ he said, adding, ‘I don’t even think we should be having a trial.’”
Lawmakers in the Democrat-led House of Representatives, including ten Republicans, voted to impeach Trump for the second time one week after the U.S. Capitol protest that occurred on January 6, accusing him of inciting the chaos that took place. Now the Senate is tasked with holding a trial, despite the fact that Trump is already out of office. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already revealed that their major goal, in addition to convicting Trump, is to prevent him from ever running for office again amid fears that he will launch another presidential bid for 2024.
Author : Sophie O’Hara
Source : Wayne Dupree : Pro-Trump Senators Go to Battle With Mitch McConnell
National Guard Troops To Be Kept In DC Until March
A few thousand National Guard troops could end up staying in the nation’s capital until mid-March, a U.S. defense official confirms to Fox News.
The National Guard is in the process of meeting with various federal agencies to “determine their requirements” for troops to stay beyond January, the official said. Planning is underway, but no final decisions have been made, the official added.
Around 25,000 Guardsmen deployed to Washington D.C., ahead of President Biden’s inauguration after the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol where authorities were badly outnumbered by pro-Trump supporters.
The ceremony went off with only a few minor arrests. About a dozen Guard troops were removed from their posts after being vetted by the FBI, including two who made extremist statements about the event.
In a statement Thursday, the National Guard said about 7,000 troops would remain in Washington through the “end of the month.” But there is concern among some city and federal authorities that protesters might return to Washington in early March on the original presidential inauguration date, March 4.
Six southern states left the union after Abraham Lincoln was elected in November and before his inauguration in March, a period known as “Secession Winter.”
The 20th Amendment moved the inauguration to its present Jan. 20 date. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president sworn into office on that date when he began his second term in 1937.
Before the ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, the new president was not sworn until the March following the election.
Lawmakers from both political parties were fuming this week after learning that troops were forced to take rest breaks outside the Capitol. Images circulated online showing Guardsmen camped in a cold garage, which prompted bipartisan calls for an investigation.
Author : Lucas Y. Tomlinson
Source : Ny Post : National Guard to keep 7,000 troops in DC until March
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