Strong opinions, weakly held

The whisteblower’s name is Edward Snowden

Today The Guardian prints the identity of the PRISM whistleblower, at his request:

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

For those of us who believe that the protection of whistleblowers is an essential component of a functioning democracy, the question before us is how to effectively protest when he is inevitably arrested and tried. Web site defacements by Anonymous aren’t going to keep him out of jail.

You’ll also read a lot of demands that President Obama pardon Snowden, but I think that’s highly unlikely. The Obama Justice Department has aggressively prosecuted whistleblowers, and the pardon power is generally applied through a bureaucratic process handled by the Justice Department. I’m not optimistic about prosecutorial discretion saving the day, either.

In any case, keeping Snowden’s name in the news as much as possible will be important.

See also: Bruce Schneier on whistleblowers.

1 Comment

  1. He should have a public “dead man switch” so the whole world can know if he was captured.

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