The Edward Snowden case has been fascinating from the start. It has spy stuff, a man on the run, embarrassing government secrets, international gamesmanship, a model girlfriend, legal maneuvering. Wow.
But you haven’t seen anything yet. Snowden isn’t running and he isn’t hiding; he’s waiting. And he’s reportedly negotiating the terms of his return through his dad. When he’s ready, and it’s safe, he’ll come after the U.S. government in a public trial. He’s the real deal. And he’s on your side, even if it doesn’t feel that way.
Is he a traitor? Yes, absolutely. But so were Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Franklin, and Jefferson, to name a few. If you think being a traitor is always bad, no matter the circumstances or motives, you’re officially too dumb to vote.
I’m wondering how you find a jury that would convict Snowden. On the first day of the trial his lawyer will explain to all twelve jurors how the government spied on them personally. Every potential juror is also a victim. Good luck getting the victims to side with the perpetrator, which in this case is the government.
I think there’s some sort of law that says I can’t make a public statement in favor of jury nullification. Jury nullification is when jurors agree that the accused broke the law, but they feel the law itself is wrong, or that a conviction would be overkill, so they find the accused innocent. I predict that will happen. I don’t recommend jury nullification because I’m not sure I have freedom of speech in this regard. I simply predict that nullification will happen.
My personal view is that if the government had asked citizens for permission to collect all communications in the country, or had stated its intentions without asking for permission, I’d be okay with it. It seems like a great tool for combatting domestic terrorism, and I don’t think the government cares about my browser history.
But the government didn’t ask my opinion before it collected my personal communications data. I can’t give a free pass for that. And I am available for jury duty.