It has been three years since National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden released classified NSA files to media outlets that exposed global mass surveillance operations by the U.S. and British governments. If he returned to the United States from Russia, where he now lives in exile, he would face charges of theft of state secrets and violating the Espionage Act, and face at least 30 years in prison. This week his supporters launched a new call for President Obama to offer Snowden clemency, a plea agreement or a pardon before the end of his term.
The show examines whether he could get a fair trial if he returns to the United States to be tried for violating the Espionage Act. Snowden has said the Espionage Act does not allow a whistleblower or public interest defense, which means his motivations would not be considered in court. Under the act, “it would literally be inadmissible for [Snowden] to tell the jury his motivations,” argues Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Meanwhile, Bradley Moss, a national security attorney who has represented whistleblowers, says Snowden “could have gone to the intelligence committees” with his revelations and stayed within legal guidelines.
A sweeping new investigation has raised questions about the little-known Trump Organization and potential conflicts of interest should Trump become president. The investigation published in Newsweek magazine reveals the Trump Organization is a vast financial network that stretches from New York City to India, Ukraine, China, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and Russia. It’s connected to Russian mining, banking and real estate billionaire Vladimir Potanin, who himself is closely tied to the Russian government. Trump’s frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin has already sparked concern among national security experts about U.S. foreign policy under a possible Trump presidency. The report concludes, “If Donald Trump wins this election and his company is not immediately shut down or forever severed from the Trump family, the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.” The report’s author spoke to Amy Goodman.
Democracy Now! is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.