Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, a Senator and the First Lady, is not yet convinced that Snowden leaked the classified documents because he was concerned about the basic privacy rights of Americans.
Defending the country’s mass surveillance programs and their extent of surveying while speaking at the University of Connecticut, she blasted Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor, for his actions, according to the daily National Journal.
I have a hard time thinking that somebody who is a champion of privacy and liberty has taken refuge in Russia under Putin’s authority,” said Clinton.
She knows the intensity of cyber-attacks as the Secretary of State and a Senator, because, “we were attacked every hour, more than once an hour.”
People were desperate to avoid another attack, and I saw enough intelligence as a senator from New York, and then certainly as secretary , that this is a constant—there are people right this minute trying to figure out how to do harm to Americans and to other innocent people,” said Clinton.
A balance must be found between national security and citizens’ privacy concerns.
So it was a debate that needs to happen, so that we make sure that we’re not infringing on Americans’ privacy, which is a valued, cherished personal belief that we have. But we also had to figure out how to get the right amount of security.”
According to the National Journal, Clinton insinuated Snowden’s motives as suspicious and questioned “why he couldn’t have been part of the debate at home.”
She added that she was confused at his motive of fleeing the country to expose the surveillance program.
When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled, because we have all these protections for whistleblowers.”
Snowden sought refuge in Hong Kong and then in Russia after being charged with multiple counts of espionage and stealing classified documents. Although Clinton strongly advocates for the whistle-blower protections, it is unlikely that Snowden could escape the years of prison if he returns of the US.
Additionally, the whistle-blower protection is not applicable to employees and contractors at the US intelligence agencies, and thus Snowden may hardly get any respite.
She did not hesitate to say that by going to China and Russia, the ex-NSA contractor has in fact colluded with countries hostile to the US and who have perpetrated cyber attacks against the country in the past.
But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly.”
She explained how cautious she would be when travelling to Russia and China.
When I would go to China or I would go to Russia, we would leave all my electronic equipment on the plane with the batteries out, because this is a new frontier and they’re trying to find out not just about what we do in our government, they’re trying to find out about what a lot of companies do and they were going after the personal emails of people who worked in the State Department.”
And in the same vein she added that Russia and China are worse in terms of civil liberties.
It’s not like the only government in the world that is doing anything is the United States,” she added.
Clinton argued that document leaked by Snowden has only helped the terrorists and other countries.
I think turning over a lot of that material—intentionally or unintentionally, because of the way it can be drained—gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like.”
She also weighed in on the fugitive for acting all too friendly toward the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on a recent talk show, where he asks
President Putin, do you spy on people?’ And President Putin says, ‘Well, from one intelligence professional to another, of course not.’ ‘Oh, thank you so much!”
The former First lady says she had ‘hard time following it.’
Clinton could be the Democratic’s presidential candidate for the 2016 election and her nearest rival could be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) While the former supports the surveillance program, the latter is a vocal critic of the NSA.
Surveillance could be a defining issue for the prospective 2016 candidates and both of them are trying to present and advocate their philosophies to the college students, who seem to be all too supportive of Snowden.
Rather than shaming him, they consider him a hero, who has been recently selected as rector of the Glassgow University.