Edward Snowden, who released highly classified information from National Security 2013, was one of the most controversial figures in politics over the past decade. Ask any libertarian and they will tell you that he is a hero for uncovering a variety of government surveillance programs. Some of these programs pushed or violated constitutional boundaries. Ask someone with a more hawkish bent and they will tell you that he killed Americans and is a traitor for his country.
I am a squish who tends to fall somewhere in the middle. It’s hard to call him a whistleblower, given that there were protocols he didn’t follow. Instead, he chose to criminally leak the information, giving it to America’s enemies. However, the important things he exposed could not have been seen if he hadn’t chosen the path he took. So, while I am closer to having a definitive, black-and-white opinion on the man than many others, it is not so far. There are many gray areas in life.
However, I do know that the comedian’s response to Joe Biden (and Mike Pence) classified documents scandal was quite funny. It is also correct regarding the law.
It’s clear that there is a double standard. Snowden points out that it is not necessary to have intent in order to make illegal the possession of classified documents. Anyone who was attentive during the Hillary Clinton email scandal knows that the statute clearly states that gross negligence is the deciding factor. To save Clinton, James Comey rewrote the law immediately to reflect intent, and the rest is history.
For military personnel, as well as other Americans, the rules don’t apply equally to them. Kristian Saucier was a Navy sailor that took photos of his tour aboard a nuclear submarine. He didn’t realize he was violating the law as the systems of the sub were classified. Although his actions were obviously an innocent error, he was sentenced to a year in prison. He’s probably a sucker for not violating the law as a former vice-president.
This is where I am, regardless of what one thinks about Snowden personally. I am sick of the two-tiered justice systems and would like to see the law applied regardless of who is in the crosshairs. Biden and Pence could be thrown out if they don’t have declassification authority. Do I believe the current DOJ will adhere to these unbiased standards? You can probably guess the answer.