Donald Trump has made it clear: he’s no fan of Edward Snowden. Back in 2013 he unleashed his most blunt stance on the issue, “I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country — you know what we used to do to traitors, right?” In other words: we put them to death.
Trump’s pick to head the CIA, Mike Pompeo, shares the same stance. In 2014, he wrote a letter that accused Snowden of “intentional distortion of truth that he and his media enablers have engaged in.” He also called for “the traitor Edward Snowden” to be executed.
Clearly there isn’t much love for Snowden in Trump’s White House — and even Barack Obama wouldn’t pardon him. He’s been protected by Russia, but with Trump in office, Russia may use that to improve relations with Trump’s administration.
As the New York Daily News reported:
From Russia with love?
Russia is considering sending surveillance leaker Edward Snowden back to the United States as a “gift” to President Trump, according to a report.
Snowden fled his job as an NSA contractor in 2013, when he leaked a trove of documents to journalists that exposed widespread surveillance on ordinary Americans through the bulk collection of metadata.
He fled to and was granted asylum in Moscow, though two unidentified officials told NBC News that internal Russian deliberations show conversations about using him to “curry favor” with the new administration. Snowden has been charged under the Espionage Act and could face decades in prison, though Trump and other officials have suggested the death penalty.
The White House did not immediately comment on the NBC report, but the Justice Department told the network that it would welcome the return of Snowden.
“Finally: irrefutuable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next,” Snowden posted on Twitter shortly after news of the possible transfer broke.
Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they're next. https://t.co/YONqZ1gYqm
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 10, 2017
Last month Snowden re-tweeted a tweet sent out by Glenn Greenwald, a liberal Snowden apologist, stating CIA operative Mike Morrell had reportedly been urging Putin to hand him [Snowden] over as a gift, but that it was a gesture the Russians weren’t yet ready to make.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 18, 2017
Greenwald also cast doubt on this news:
Stay tuned for what’s next!
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]