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Edward Snowden is ready to go home to the United States.
“Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial,” his Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said at a news conference Tuesday, as quoted by Russian state media outlet TASS.
“The former National Security Agency contractor has been in Russia since 2013, having fled to the country from Hong Kong after leaking classified national security information to journalists.
“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” Kucherena said. Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia expired last August, at which time the country granted him a three-year residence permit.
Despite a 2013 letter from Attorney General Eric Holder that promised Snowden would not face the death penalty upon his return, Kucherena said he wants assurances of a fair trial as well. “That is, they guarantee that Snowden will not be executed, not that he will receive a fair trial.
And it is guaranteed by attorney [general] who cannot even influence court decisions according to law,” Kucherena was quoted as saying. Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s American legal advisers, says Kucherena’s statement echoes what they’ve been saying all along. Were Snowden to return, he would face charges under the World War I-era Espionage Act.
Maybe Russia is planning on extraditing him and he is being preemptive? Just a notion.
Statement for the European Parliament by Snowden
I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.
It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels