Kerry To Snowden: “Man Up and Come Back to the United States.”

220px-John_Kerry_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait220px-Landsdowne_HeraklesWe previously discussed how terribly confused Hillary Clinton appeared in discussing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. She just could not understand why he would not have trusted the government to deal with any problems or why he would not come back to the United States. Now, Secretary of State John Kerry is offering his own brand of macho advice to the kid: “man up and come back to the United States.” Sure leaders have called for him to be tried as a traitor and either incarcerated for life or executed. Sure, he is not guaranteed to see all of the evidence used against him or even be guaranteed a federal trial as opposed to a military tribunal. However, Kerry appears ready to give him an “attaboy” on his way to solitary confinement under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) that cut off virtually any contact with the outside world.

As we discussed with Clinton, the ruling class in Washington finds Snowden perfectly incomprehensible. Every aspect of our political system has long been tied down and controlled by the two parties. For such leaders, someone like Snowden is nothing short of an alien visitation — someone who throws away his career and possible freedom for what he claims to be principle. To make matters worse, Snowden is viewed as a whistleblower, if not a hero, by many in the United States and around the world. (However, polls in the U.S. are conflicting. A majority are glad that the disclosures were made but other polls show that a majority believes Snowden should stand trial. Making things even more precarious for people like Clinton is that younger people have particularly rallied to the side of Snowden as a whistleblower). While President Obama implausibly claimed that he would have reviewed these abusive programs without Snowden’s disclosures, Snowden was clearly the cause of multiple investigations and reforms of these programs.

Snowden committed the ultimate crime in Washington: he embarrassed leadership in both parties. He broke the rules and went outside of a carefully controlled duopoly system of control. He embarrassed many, including Clinton, who sat by quietly as the national security system invaded the privacy of every American citizen. Indeed, for people in the establishment who have spent their lives reinforcing that system, someone like Snowden is more than an anomaly. He is someone who not only broke the rules but threw away his career to make these disclosures. For people like Clinton and Kerry, he could just as well be a man from Mars.

Kerry said that Snowden really needs to “stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people.” Indeed, Kerry declared that “A patriot would not run away. … He can come home but he’s a fugitive from justice.” Like Clinton, Kerry cannot imagine why Snowden would not trust the system: “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.”

As someone who has held top clearances since the Reagan administration, I do not support the release of classified information. However, as someone who has litigated national security cases from terrorism to espionage cases, there is every reason for Snowden to be leery of our system as it currently stands in the post 9-11 world. I have great faith and love for our legal system, but national security law has become increasingly draconian and outcome determinative due to various changes in the last decade. This Administration has continued the use of secret legal opinions and secret evidence in cases. The agencies continue to classify information to prevent the public or defendants from reviewing potentially embarrassing or conflicting material. President Obama has refused to close tribunal proceedings and maintains the same claim of his inherent authority to decide whether people go to real courts or the widely ridiculed tribunal proceedings. Even if in the federal system, the government would hit Snowden with SAMs to cut off any contact and impose limitations on even his cleared counsel in speaking with him. At trial, federal judges are increasingly barring arguments from defendants as “immaterial” even when those arguments are the real reason for their actions.

Thus, the Justice Department would likely move to exclude arguments that disclosure was necessary because Snowden had no real alternative for reform. He might be even prevented from arguing that he was seeking to protect citizens from the systemic and comprehensive denial of privacy. Even if some of that motivational argument were allowed, it would likely trigger an instruction that that is no defense to the charges. Sentencing enhancements routinely used by the Justice Department would guarantee a life sentence if convicted for Snowden.

228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenAs for utilizing the system to make these disclosures before he fled, Snowden had little reason to trust the congressional oversight committees or the agencies themselves. Just for the record, as many of you know, I represented the prior whistleblower who first revealed this program years before Snowden. He tried to use the system. Happily he was not charged and is doing well. However, as I have testified in Congress, the whistleblower system referred to by Clinton is a colossal joke. First, there are exceptions under the whistleblower laws for national security information. Second, the House and Senate oversight committees are viewed as the place that whistleblowers go to get arrested. There is a revolving door of staff back and forth to the intelligence agencies and people like Dianne Feinstein have denounced Snowden as a traitor. While one can still criticize Snowden for breaking classification laws, the suggestion that he could have used the whistleblower system is hardly self-evident if you are familiar with the laws or the history of such cases.

Whatever Snowden decides, it is clear that if he returns he will be quickly put in isolation and would be virtually certain of conviction with a life sentence. That is assuming that some leaders do not get their way in calling for a death penalty case. That is certain a lot to “man up” to.

292 thoughts on “Kerry To Snowden: “Man Up and Come Back to the United States.””

  1. Paul C. Schulte
    I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but didn’t the NSA this last week prove themselves to be LIARS?

    1st they denied such e-mails from Snowden.
    2nd they deny FOIA requests as “National Security”
    3rd in less than 24 hrs AFTER Snowden’s interview aired, the NSA produced an e-mail from Snowden.

    Do we really believe this is all they have?
    To date: People may think Snowden is a traitor if they wish… yet he isn’t the one being caught in a wicked web woven to deceive. The Government is.

    Troll for terrorism has become international economic espionage
    Warrants have become writs to collect servailed data of mass peoples
    Metadata has become the ability to playback phone convos 30 days later

    Or… Snowden is illegitimate and all I wrote is but a fiction penned by Orwell.

    1. Max-1 – if one concludes that Snowden is a traitor, then he has no legitimacy. That was my point.

      1. It appears to me that all the talk of Snowden giving American secrets to Putin/Russia is just that; talk. Snowden denies it. Putin denies it. I can find no evidence to support such an allegation. This is simply the Establishment seeking retribution for Snowden’s audacity in standing up against them. Give Snowden a medal for integrity. For having the courage to stand up; speak out and pay the price of losing his country if necessary. It takes a lot of fuzzy balls to cheer and parade every July 4th for the traitors to the King who started this false democracy and then condemn Snowden for standing against tyranny within our government. It takes a Tory of the sort to make old George III proud. It takes a hypocrite I think to deny him the same rights and obligations we claim led us to separate from Britain to begin with. This is the true irony of the Right-Wing; that while they claim to wish to keep America as it was; America WAS an experiment in self-governance; not a replica of the British Monarchy which is just the sort of tyranny the Right-Wing now support. Well in truth, they always have and have been working under one name or another to return the nation to the clutches of men just like the Kings and Emperors they hated. In fact to say they have failed would not be accurate. They have maintained their control over America an have managed to hide the fact from most of the public. they have done so by being the ones in charge and control of both parties. Our freedom is a mirage brought on by the heat of confusion and the confusion of the lies they tell. So while you may consider Edward Snowden a traitor to the “Government of the America”; I will continue to consider him a hero and a patriot to the “People of America”; those who are supposed to be the governors of this nation. Recall? Of the people; by the people; for the people. Another deception fostered by the Tories when they saw the inevitable end of the British Rule.

        On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 9:03 PM, JONATHAN TURLEY wrote:

        > Paul C. Schulte commented: “Max-1 – if one concludes that Snowden is a > traitor, then he has no legitimacy. That was my point.” >

  2. Paul C. Schulte
    Laser- you are presupposing Snowden is legitimate.
    = = =
    Paul, humor me and cite a lie Snowden is known to have made since his revelations that the US Government.

  3. NEWSFLASH – Obama traded Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bergdahl. The release of Taliban leaders will result in the “deaths of Americans.” Obama did not give amnesty to Snowden because Snowden’s actions will result in the “deaths of Americans.”

    Obama took his action for the benefit of one American.

    Snowden took his actions for the benefit of all Americans.

    Obama is as guilty of treason as much as Snowden.

    Obama gave amnesty to the Taliban and 40 million Mexicans.

    Obama should give amnesty to Snowden.

    1. John – could not agree more. During the Cold War we traded one-for-one with the Russians. Our trading skills suck.

  4. Hillary has a secret meeting with Obama to get the Benghazi lie straight before testifying. Kerry suffers a Putin invasion and annexation of Crimea, with Ukraine next, and China breaking international law and tradition by invading and claiming the South China Sea as it sinks Vietnamese ships. Oh yeah these are real leaders, shrewd negotiators and quintessential statesmen. If Hillary isn’t jailed for defrauding on Benghazi, dereliction and negligence (more charges to come), she’ll become the next president and Putin and Jinping will rule the world.

  5. Obama negotiated for Bergdahl. Obama turned criminals loose. He can pardon the perpetrator of a victimless crime, Snowden. Amnesty is given to 40 million Mexicans, amnesty can be given to Snowden. Jimmy Carter gave amnesty to draft dodgers, amnesty can be given to Snowden who is truly a whistleblower who provided a huge constitutional revelation to the American people. That’s some form of hero.

  6. I found the link to the email copy of the story I have.

    Love this reflection by Madsen (who’s knowledge of the real Obama would floor anyone – including birther’s).

    Elements within the CIA have also informed the Obama White House, particularly John Podesta, the counselor to the president for all matters dealing with the NSA leaks, that if the White House or Justice Department moves against the CIA for the Snowden leaks, the CIA will release highly embarrassing personal information on the president.

    I particularly find it quaint that the story (in the link) ends with a
    “phi beta iota” conclusion that;

    What we do know is that Snowden’s transition from zero to immaculate spy was managed by Booz Allen and CIA; that if he was not a Chinese recruitment in Hawaii (still our preferred explanation) then this (Madsen) report rises in credibility; and that the NSA has clearly crossed over too many boundaries with Wall Street elites and their political servants.

    See the entire story here at

  7. I fear that Greenwald is getting too powerful;
    in his battles against the powers that be.

    He’s one of the “next” on the list of “To be brought down”.

    Assange is but a story blip from time to time;
    whence Snowden shall also go.

    Romney loves the FBI, DOJ and NSA.

    Especially that nearly $2 Billion “storage” facility in Utah!

  8. Laser, If you watched Snowden on NBC, you would see he is an incredibly intelligent and savvy person. He does not even possess the info anymore. He gave everything to Greenwald before entering Russia. He knew Putin getting the info would be devastating to his cause.

  9. I have been unable to afford WMR;
    but his reflections on Snowden have razor sharp teeth.

    Here’s televised remarks by Wayne Madsen on Snowden back in February/14

    NSA recently fired a U.S. government civilian who worked at the NSA Regional Security Operations Center in Kunia, Hawaii. The unnamed male civilian, who was not charged with any crime, is said to have shared his “Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Certificate” with Snowden, allowing access to the NSANet. NSA claims that Snowden did not have access to NSANet. NSA’s claims of collusion between Snowden and the civilian employee are contained in an UNCLASSIFIED/FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY memo for the House Judiciary Committee dated February 10, 2014. The memo also states that Snowden was assisted by two other personnel in Kunia, an active duty military member and a contractor, in collecting the NSA documents. Although the FBI investigated all three unidentified employees at the Kunia facility, no criminal charges against them were filed by Justice Department prosecutors. The memo states that the civilian government employee “remained in an uncleared employee status pending an appeal of the revocation [of his security clearance], and he resigned on 10 January 2014.

  10. I follow the works of Wayne Madsen;
    and I’m good friends with his friend Andrew Kreig.

    Because those two risk much (Madsen lost all his radio shows because he was nailing the falsities to the bull pie cross they belonged on) – I trust what they say – GREATLY.

    Additionally, Wayne was lifetime NSA.

    Madsen believes that the CIA felt threatened by the NSA;
    and that the CIA helped Snowden release the information.

    A slant on the facts you’ll never see in main stream.

    1. Laser – from the timeline presented, Snowden did not need any help releasing the info. He was in touch with Wikileaks early on.

  11. I’ve always wondered about making a deal with the debol in Putin.

    When does he get board of it all; and simply expunge Snowden?

    What’s the motivation for a tyrant to assist in civil war against tyranny elsewhere?

    1. Laser – there is some thought that Putin is hanging on to Snowden for one of two reasons, or both. 1) it embarasses the USA and Obama, making Obama weaker and Putin stronger 2) Snowden is giving Putin info.

    1. Paladin – that would be Putin, the former KGB agent, currently posing as Hitler? That hero? I agree on Kerry and Clinton, but really, who hired them. You lead from the top.

  12. Kindle version of Presidential Puppetry by Andrew Kreig (an attorney at law in Washington D.C. who risks much exposing the real deals) – is only $2.99.

    POTUS Obama (who I support greatly for other reasons) – has a history with “security” issues and CIA, long before he arrived into the Senate.

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