If officials can leak intelligence to the media, why can’t Snowden come home?

After a tumultuous and heated election cycle, many longed for November simply to bring an end to the hate and vitriol that haunted the contest. Unfortunately, the election came and went with little decrease in the conflict. If anything, the conflict between the two major political parties and dueling mainstream ideologies has grown worse.

During the election, a major point of contention was the source of various leaks exposing Democratic organizations and politicians. Primarily through Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0, these hacked files showed us the inner workings of the Democratic Party.

Democrats, in response, accused the Russians of being the hacks. Most Republicans, primarily Donald Trump supporters, remained skeptical. But the debate raged on and has grown worse after the election, especially as we draw closer to the Electoral College vote.

Was it really the Russian government who was behind these hacks?

Multiple media outlets are now indicating this is the case and in each instance referring to anonymous and unnamed sources within the intelligence community. Central Intelligence Agency officials are apparently signaling to the media that a breach occurred and that Vladimir Putin may have even personally been involved.

Did these reporters have the proper security clearances to receive this intelligence? Were these anonymous and unnamed sources authorized to leak intelligence to individuals not authorized to receive it?

It’s essentially the same thing whistleblower Edward Snowden did, except he didn’t leak intelligence information for political reasons.

When Snowden became increasingly aware of a number of programs used and activities performed by the federal government against the American people, he acquired evidence and fled. He would then leak this information to journalists, allowing them to disseminate the information.

Because of these exposures, the American people became aware of the threat to their digital privacy and the importance of cyber security. Reforms have occurred and people have demanded greater accountability out of the government.

But also because of these exposures, Snowden was forced to flee the country. The United States fought to have him extradited from Hong Kong and described him as a “fugitive” while slamming the country for not complying with the request. The whistleblower’s passport was revoked en route to Ecuador and was forced to land in Russia, where he has remained since.

Will the United States government, led by Democratic President Barack Obama, seek to imprison these intelligence officials who have been leaking intelligence information to the mainstream media?

There has been no indication to this point that the same standard held to Edward Snowden will be applied to the anonymous and unnamed intelligence officials leaking information to the media. As Snowden himself continues to request a pardon from President Obama for his leaks, leaks continue to happen to the media without repercussion.

One must ask themselves: why is Snowden still in exile?

Is Snowden being hunted for prosecution by the government for breaking the law or because he exposed abuses of power the government enjoys? If the former was the case and integrity of the rule of law was important, these anonymous and unnamed sources would be sought as well.

If these sources are free to leak intelligence to the mainstream media, why can’t Edward Snowden come home a free man?

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.

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