The U.S. Executive branch still isn’t much of a Snowden fan, despite his leaks spurring calls for change both in the Judicial and Legislative parts of the government. This is hardly surprising given that the NSA is a part of the Executive Branch. But recent comments by Secretary of State John Kerry are worth noting, as they set the tone for future dissidents, and also imply that the chance of Snowden returning home is zero for now.
Secretary Kerry, using a gendered pejorative phrase, said the following earlier today: “He should man up and come back to the United States if he has a complaint about what’s the matter with American surveillance. Come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case.” Kerry also offered to fly Snowden home, and quickly, if the fugitive wished.
That is precisely what Snowden should do if he wants to spend the rest of his life in a cell. So, naturally, he won’t.
A simple thought here: Snowden broke the law, and the penalty for those crimes is quite a lot of prison time. Snowden’s actions are driving change in our government, especially in testing the sturdiness of the Fourth Amendment — this is an American moment. It doesn’t gut check that his life should be all but forfeit.
Secretary Kerry’s offer of a jet to bring Snowden home isn’t much more than an invitation to a — his — shackling. Given the legal advice that journalist Glenn Greenwald received while reporting the early Snowden leaks (stay clear of the United States for now) the position of the government isn’t hard to parse.
Added to all that is the shameful record of the U.S.’ treatment of dissenters.
Calling other people wimps when you control huge swaths of power doesn’t make you seem big. Standing up to that power structure and saying no, however, is a different matter.