Russia is sending Snowden back to US
“Edward Snowden is a traitor.” This is how Donald J. Trump will reply if he is asked how to describe Mr. Snowden. It is a subjective matter whether he is a national hero or really a traitor, but leaking government secrets are highly illegal no matter what the purpose is. However, unless he returns back to his own country, United States of America can not judge him. Until today, he was a poker card for the Vladimir Putin, current president of the Russian Federation, but considering the close relationship between Putin and Trump, Russia may no longer need to protect him. That is why earlier this week, Dmitry Peskow, the spokesman of Putin, announced that Russia will return Snowden to the USA as a gift.
Before commenting on this situation, we should look at what Edward Snowden did to betray his own government. Born on 21 July 1983, he was a US computer expert, former Center Intelligence Organization (CIA) employee, and former NSA chief. By disclosing confidential NSA documents to the media, he has revealed the operational details of the global tracking devices ( operated by the NSA ), five eye partners, and many commercial and international partner disclosures. Snowden’s disclosure of confidential documents was described by Daniel Ellsberg as the most important leak in US history. A process that began on June 5, 2013, revealed the detention of US and European phone metadata alongside Internet monitoring programs such as PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora. The reports are based on documents leaked to The Guardian and The Washington Post while he was still working for NSA. Due to the political pressures on the journalists though, until November 2013, The Guardian could only publish one percent of the documents.
Snowden, thinking he would not be judged fairly, left the country and went to Russia with the recommendation of Julian Assange. However, he was originally thinking of escaping to the Latin America. After a period of abode at the airport in Russia, he received one year of temporary political asylum in July 2013. On the August 1, 2014, after three months of filled employment, he obtained a three-year temporary residence permit. As a controversial topic, Snowden was described by various circles as a hero and a patriot while being criticized as an informer, dissident and a traitor by some others. According to Snowden, the only reason to push him to leak documents was “to inform the public what the government was doing for and against its own people“. The disputed documents fomented debate over the balance between mass surveillance, government and national secrecy, and information confidentiality. Seven months after the issuance of NSA incidents, Snowden stated that his mission was completed. A federal judge voiced that in December 2013, the government acted against the US constitution by collecting metadata from “almost” absolutely all state telephone calls. Ten days later, another federal judge voiced that the surveillance program was legal, and consequently raised the possibility of the program’s compliance with the Constitution eventually being discussed in the Supreme Court.
Snowden is seen as a fugitive by American officials who accuse him of espionage and vengeance on state property. Snowden is currently living under temporary asylum in Russia. Nevertheless, latest reports indicates that Moscow is starting to have the same impression on the Snowden as the Washington. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskow, “The disclosure of classified United States documents are neither ethical nor legal. Until today, we weren’t in the position to do anything, but to give him a residence permit. Despite that, we have been well aware of the crimes he committed, and thus, we agree on the fact that he does not deserve the privileges he has previously given in the Russian Federation. For this purpose, we are working with Washington to transfer him to the United States of America, where he will be promised to be judged fairly.”
Two years ago, Russia, in fact, was clear that they had no intentions to send him back, because he was eventually a joker card that Putin had against the former US President, Barack Obama. However, considering the close ties than Putin has with Trump, returning him as a “gift” is more likely to make their ties even stronger rather than keeping him. As for the media, there are two main opinions whether he should be returned or not. First of all, the majority believes that his acts were to protect the US Citizens from being spied. That is true as we discovered that the US Government is not just listening our phone calls, but watch our every behaviors. In any case though, that does not change the fact that he committed a crime by leaking out the classified documents, and despite helping us, he is a traitor for his own government.
At this point, it is still not clear when Russia will return him, but we expect this to happen soon.