Common Dreams In comments made to the Guardian newspaper on Friday, former U.S. Secretary of State and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should return home and face charges levied against him by the U.S. government.
"If he wishes to return knowing he would be held accountable and also able to present a defense, that is his decision to make," Clinton told the newspaper during an interview conducted over video stream.
Snowden, whose disclosures have led to global uproar surrounding U.S. government surveillance on the world's population, remains in Russia where has received asylum status. Both his lawyers and the former intelligence contractor himself have said that because he has been charged under the Espionage Act he would be denied protections afforded whistleblowers which would prevent him from arguing that his decision to leak the classified information was made in the name of the public interest.
According to the Guardian:
When Clinton was asked if she believed the Espionage Act – passed in 1917 – should be reformed in order to allow Snowden a defence, she claimed not to know what the whistleblower had been charged with as they were "sealed indictments".
"In any case that I'm aware of as a former lawyer, he has a right to mount a defence," she said. "And he certainly has a right to launch both a legal defence and a public defence, which can of course affect the legal defence.
"Whether he chooses to return or not is up to him. He certainly can stay in Russia, apparently under Putin's protection, for the rest of his life if that's what he chooses. But if he is serious about engaging in the debate then he could take the opportunity to come back and have that debate. But that's his decision."