I hope we see more people like Snowden, even if that kind of work comes at huge costs. Overwhelming parts of the press failed in covering this topic too.
To no surprise, nothing has happened to them so far (it's been about 3 months since the first publication), but the journalist, who is only reporting, has been a target of several attacks, including some homophobic comments from the current president and president's family.
That said, Greenwald is also a perfect example of why raxxorrax is correct about most journalists not covering issues like the ones you guys have brought up. State level baddies out to stop you is a very serious proposition. They target your friends, your family, your property. Nothing is off limits to these people, they'd probably off your grandmother if they thought it would confer them advantage.
I respect what the guy does, but raxxorrax is right, that stuff comes at a high cost. It's dangerous in the extreme, not just for you, but potentially for your 7 year old niece too. I can understand why reporters choose to cover other issues instead.
There is a lot of room for irreversible damage before your grievance is even heard.
If a European government was staunchly against government surveillance overreach, maybe they could do it as a statement in support of their values. But why worsen diplomacy with the US (and the Five Eyes nations) when you don't have to? Any country against out-of-control gov't surveillance can simply mind their own affairs in that spirit without getting involved with the Snowden issue.
I know, my country is far from being Germany at that time, but we do have a very colorful character at the top, exhibiting somewhat similar tendencies.
Think of the chances a "country against out-of-control gov't surveillance" has against the power of a certain three letter agencies that get an order to pressure the said country. Think of 
Preventing the Russians from extracting information from Snowden that they haven't extracted already.
Plus, Snowden already blabbed about what the US was doing, why should they think that he hasn't already spilled the beans about other countries?
Say the US applies a tariff on wine imports from France. What happens next? Does every other EU member in solidarity start self-applying the same tariff to their wines and sending that over to the US tax service?
But most EU countries tend to have a very strong separation between the government and the judiciary, so even if the government supports asylum for Snowden, the judiciary might decide to honor an American extradition request. Although many EU countries don't extradite when there's a risk of death penalty, unfair trial, torture, or anything like that.
The only one I have ever heard allaged in this case is "unfair trial". But the details of that are: 'US law does not have an exception that covers Snowden's actions".
I happen to agree that the US should have some form of public interest exception, but as a legal arguement it doesn't make sense. No one would argue that a murderer cannot get a fair trial because there is no victim annoyed me exception.
1. Unacceptable punishment. This could certainly be invoked, since Snowden faces Espionage Act charges. The current charges don't carry the death penalty, but the possibility of further charges might be raised. But as with Assange, it wouldn't bar extradition; the US simply agrees not to seek the death penalty and then the process continues. Solitary confinement could also arise here.
2. Lack of dual criminality: the Espionage Act is extraordinarily broad, and I don't know whether France's espionage/treason laws are comparable. But since Snowden faces theft and computer charges which have clear dual criminality, I don't know how this would proceed. The US might have to agree not to pursue Espionage Act charges, but you'd have to ask a lawyer.
3. Unfair trial: this is subjective, and not covered by the US/France extradition treaty. The European Court of Human Rights has stated that a merely unfair trial is not a bar, and requires a "flagrant violation of human rights", but France could potentially apply a narrower standard. And while unfair trial isn't a basis to reject a US extradition, it is a basis to grant asylum, which would take legal precedence.
There is a good candidate here: the Espionage Act bars any question of whether the information was justifiably secret, bars defendants from introducing key evidence in their defense, bars the defendant from discussing their intent, and doesn't require proof of real or even potential harm to convict. France could argue that Snowden faces conviction over harm which was both unintended and impossible in the course of exposing an illegal action.
Of course, this would again be moot if the Espionage Act charges were dropped (although not if asylum was granted first). And it could be tough both legally and politically depending on how France's most secretive prosecutions are structured.
4. Politically motivated charges: this both grounds for asylum and a treaty bar to US/French extradition. It's also incredibly subjective, so it certainly could be invoked by a French court.
Snowden's actions don't fall under any of the explicit categories for which political extraditions are required (those are things like attacking diplomats). The US could argue they fall under the "serious harm" clause, but that's neither clearcut not an actual requirement to extradite. (It merely must be taken into account by the surrendering nation.)
France isn't terribly likely to claim this, since the programs and agencies Snowden exposed generally align with French intelligence interests. But a court probably wouldn't have much trouble justifying the finding: Snowden exposed embarrassing actions like spying on foreign heads of state (including France!), US judges have said some of the exposed programs are probably unconstitutional, and he contradicted official testimony to Congress. Combined with a charge that explicitly excludes defenses of public interest, government error, or harmless action, it would be easy to argue the US is using the trial to prevent scrutiny of political misbehavior.
None of that is going to happen, obviously, and I'm not taking a stance here on whether it would be correct. But there's at least one extradition bar which could be easily invoked and justified if someone decided to do so.
France has refused to extradite Polanski because he's a French/Polish citizen, and neither country is obligated to extradite citizens. (If the refusal is purely citizenship-based, they're required to refer the person for domestic prosecution on request. It's not clear to me whether this applied or happened.)
Poland and Switzerland were both open to extradition (Poland declined to apply the citizenship exemption), but courts in both countries refused over issues with Polanski's trial and prospective sentence.
Polanski's case did start in the US. His attorney arranged an extremely lenient plea bargain of 5/6 charges dropped and 90 days psychiatric evaluation, which he accepted when he was released from prison after 42 days. After that, things get very messy. The exact terms of the bargain were unclear (90 days or time served). The original judge has been accused of misconduct. Subsequent judges have made legally-worrying comments like threatening to delay sentencing to increase time in jail.
Switzerland rejected Polanski's extradition over ambiguity between "90 days" or "time served", and the USA's failure to provide clarifying records. The rationale was that the judge had potentially committed to time served, and extradition isn't available after a punishment (probation doesn't count) is completed.
Poland rejected extradition over the behavior from the original judge and prosecutors, plus the behavior of subsequent judges and alleged destruction of records.
"Unfair trial" is a possible defense for Snowden, and Switzerland would probably be one of the safer places in Europe for him. But a speculative claim of an unfair trial is quite a bit bolder than the Polanski decisions, which hinged on claims of actual misconduct during a trial.
You're saying if the CIA does so in Russia, it would lead to military confrontation?
Ed Snowden is a card to play for Russia but a quite small one.
Actually, the biggest risk he is facing is the same as Julian Assange. At some point, a change in policy in Russia (eg getting something back in return from the US) can lead to him being extradited to the U.S.
As for the U.S, I think it's not a big deal as well. His damage is done. All the incentive the U.S has in this case is to make example of him.
There is little political incentive for politicians to follow. Maybe some PR for the president who manages to get him back, but aside from that, Ed Snowden is not a big incentive for anyone at this point. No way anyone is going to war for him.
Snowden is a card with an expiration date. Sooner or later Russia will try to use it to get something back.
USA has plenty of whistleblower examples anyway. We've tortured Chelsea Manning for years. Others who have been punished, to varying degrees, include Bill Binney, Reality Winner, and John Kiriakou. Presumably there are others of whom we're not aware. These people have done really small things to rouse the ire of the TLAs. How could they punish Snowden in a proportional fashion, anyway?
Would asylum allow access to overseas possessions? France has some nice tropical locations.
What about Cuba? It's certainly not Russia, and it's unlikely the USA and Cuba will kiss and make up any time soon.
Or is this a PR stunt of sorts to sell more books? Note: I'm in favor of ES selling more books as I wish more people were aware of this issue.
i'd not expect much from the US prez in terms of protection for weaklings like Assange & Snowden. better if they had some power to offer in trade, but who has that type of power?
That's an interesting notion. Perhaps have Trump pardon him.
Never gonna happen given who actually runs government.
There are a ton of people who are pro-Snowden who are anti-Trump so I do like the idea of watching the uproar. Honestly, I think that kind of paradox is good for peoples' minds.
Hacker News should reconsider allowing me, an American citizen, to suggest that an international fugitive who admits to committing treason and refuses to come home should be taken out.
Snowden’s actions are an ongoing act of war against the United States. It is lawful to consider taking him out, in my opinion. I should be allowed a voice to express that view on hn, without concern about censorship, at least in this case.
This comment shouldn’t be censored. Please don’t flag it, moderators. Thanks.
Edit: if you’re going to downvote, at least please provide a brief explanation.
Snowden had the same opinion though: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/exclusive-in-200...
I’m of the opinion though that Manning and Snowden leaked under orders from the CIA. Manning wanted assistance from Assange to a degree that would remove any protections Assange would have as a third party, and it is unlikely for Snowden to have obtained such a wide range of documents (allegedly scraping Intellipedia for backup) unless his superiors were totally unobservant.
To criticize the actions of either Manning or Snowden would be to criticize the US government.
Of note is an apparent exchange between “Q” and @snowden on Twitter, where it appeared that “Q” was able to compel @snowden to share a photo of someone from the Middle East while under duress or on the move. The evidence to support this is the garbled tweets from @snowden in response to “Q”’s demand, suggesting that Snowden really was on the move and being hunted, and under pressure to disclose the info.
Also of note was “Q” saying to @snowden (at the time) “we can take you anytime” which certainly was ambiguous regarding whether it meant kill, or capture. (“Take you out” would have left zero ambiguity). “Take you anytime” implied the possibility of a kill, at the least.
The actions of various people acting as a result of the Qanon theories is potentially the result of other craziness that no one would acknowledge. It isn’t unthinkable that the person who shot the head of the Gambino crime family was in some fashion harmed by the Gambinos.
I hope the FBI agents doing full time surveillance on the Gambino head spat out their coffee when they saw what happened.
Edit: If Snowden returns to the US, I wonder if he would become another Lee Harvey Oswald. He did defect twice.
Indeed, Anthony Comello, the man who murdered Gambino boss Frank Cali allegedly believed that he had “protection” from Trump. However, this could just be a creative defense derived after-the-fact, supported by Mr. Comello’s interest in the QAnon movement.
The murder was apparently related to some dispute about dating Cali’s daughter.
“I’m getting ice cream.”
Knowledge is only tested by hypotheses that result in expected results.
No spooks were harmed by Snowden's actions. None of the information illegally collected was destroyed. None of the equipment illegally collecting information was damaged. Even the spooks on the take, using illegally obtained information for criminal extortion, were not exposed.
To which Snowden's action was a direct response.
(And I am of the opinion that any post which suggests it is OK to murder another individual should be flagged because such is not lawful.)