Eric Holder Praises Edward Snowden, But Also Condemns Him
Eric Holder has officially gone on the record now on a public podcast praising Edward Snowden, but also advocating for his punishment. The podcast seemed to serve two agendas for Eric Holder, which he used as a way to say that Snowden is both a hero and a criminal.
What Eric Holder was essentially saying when he was featured on a podcast with David Axelrod was that Edward Snowden’s actions in regard to the release of classified government surveillance documents was in effect a “public service,” but it was a necessary evil that should have consequences, according to the New York Times.
But what Eric Holder seems to really be saying is that even though Edward Snowden released documents that have essentially opened up a national dialogue about the issue, he did so in a way that was reckless and dangerous.
2013: It’s treason!
2014: Maybe not, but it was reckless
2015: Still, technically it was unlawful
2016: It was a public service but
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 30, 2016
Eric Holder is the former United States attorney general who was replaced by Loretta Lynch in April 2015. The Snowden incident happened under Holder’s watch and it seems that until that affair is wrapped up, Holder will be intimately involved with it in some capacity, which appears to be via the public media.
“We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in,” Eric Holder said on the podcast with David Axelrod.
But — and there is always a but — Holder also cited Snowden’s actions as inappropriate and unnecessary, considering that there were better channels within the government that he could have used to get that information out there.
— RT America (@RT_America) May 31, 2016
Eric Holder also said that by releasing the information the way he did, Snowden endangered many lives in the intelligence community and could have cost the United States certain diplomatic relations given that the documents also revealed that the American government was also spying on other leaders from other countries.
well if that doesn’t qualify for a kill list pic.twitter.com/7wlk8afT8g
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 30, 2016
Although Eric Holder has indeed expressed some leniency toward Edward Snowden, the Obama administration feels quite different about the situation. As a matter of fact, President Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, reiterated that Snowden could have handled the situation better by taking other avenues for whistleblowers.
“It endangered our national security,” Earnest said. “There is a path for whistle-blowers to take if they have legitimate concerns.”
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) May 2, 2016
There is one thing that rings true about Eric Holder’s statement though. It did start a national dialogue about the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records and domestic surveillance. As a matter of fact, it was enough to get Congress to transform the law after it was ruled to be illegal in 2015. But of course, that is just a small kick in the bucket and a minor setback for the domestic spy agency.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) May 31, 2016
Edward Snowden has long expressed his desire to return home from Russia, which is the country that granted him asylum and where he now resides. Eric Holder has also said that he wants Snowden to come back and stand trial for the charges against him. But in all likelihood, Snowden would not have any specific defense that could get him off the hook for the charges.
Even though Snowden has garnered support from millions around the world and here in the U.S., the people might not be enough to set him free in his homeland, should he return.
Also, just because Eric Holder has made these comments does not mean that he has made any real progress with changing the mind of the Obama administration in regard to Snowden’s culpability in violating the law. The truth is, the law would have to change before Snowden could make any progress in an American court upon his return.
[Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]