Seven years after his expose, that literally woke the entire globe, Edward Snowden deserves a pardon not a trial after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled, on Wednesday that the mass surveillance of Americans was unlawful.
Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, currently exiled in Russia, exposed NSA’s unconstitutional dealings in 2013 a move that left him marked a wanted espionage suspect.
In the Wednesday’s ruling, the court determined that the warrantless telephone tapping secretly collecting data from millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and exceeded the scope of Congress’ power.
“We conclude that the government may have violated the Fourth Amendment and did violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when it collected the telephony metadata of millions of Americans,” the ruling reads in part.
Snowden is currently wanted on espionage charges and fled to Russia after disclosing to the public in 2013 that the United States government was conducting mass surveillance on Americans, according to Reuters.
In a tweet Wednesday, Snowden said the ruling confirms what he knew seven years ago. The ruling mentioned Snowden several times.
Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them.
And yet that day has arrived. https://t.co/FRdG2zUA4U
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 2, 2020
Amongst millions if not Billions that celebrated the rulling is The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which called the ruling a “victory”.
“BREAKING: A federal appeals court just ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was illegal. This ruling, which confirms what we have always known, is a victory for our privacy rights.”
Before Edward Snowden leak, the US intelligence officials consistently denied allegations that the NSA was spying on Americans.
Snowden the published millions of softcopied evidence throwing the NSA top official under the bus.
The US government officials would later argue that the mass surveillance was crucial in helping fight domestic extremism. They reportedly cited the case pertaining to Wednesday’s ruling in order to make this argument. The case involved four San Diego residents accused of providing aid to religious extremists in Somalia, per the same report.
All claim were floored by the court on Wednesday when it ruled that the claims were “inconsistent with the content of the classified records.”
However, the court also noted that the illegal surveillance was not enough to affect the convictions of the four defendants, noting the surveillance “did not taint the evidence introduced by the government at trial.”
The ruling echoes a 2015 decision from the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said collection of information relevant to terrorism does not warrant mass surveillance of phone records, according to Politico.
The NSA program that tapped into millions of phones was shut down in 2019, according to the New York Times.
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is now calling on President Donald Trump to pardon Snowden, saying this ruling confirms Snowden did the right thing during his Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz podcast.
“James Clapper lied to the American people. But you know who did tell the American people the truth? Edward Snowden. And as of today, the case has never been stronger that Edward Snowden deserves a pardon from President Trump. I would support a pardon for Edward Snowden. If it were not for Snowden, we might not know today that our own government was engaged in an activity that now a federal appellate court has deemed illegal.”
Matt Gaez sentiments were seconded by the Republican Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul.
Matt is right. This is important. @Snowden exposed illegal and unconstitutional actions by the Deep State, including Clapper and others who went after @realDonaldTrump and lied about it. https://t.co/Qb95PWypxm
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 3, 2020
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied that the NSA was spying on Americans during a 2013 hearing, according to the Associated Press.
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