Source: United States House of Representatives – Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
October 2, 2020
“We continue to see attacks on American civil liberties by aggressive surveillance policies within our own government, trading on the fears of the American people. This occurred under both Democratic and Republican administrations, while a few brave whistleblowers came forward to lift the curtain on the Constitutional threats we faced. Edward Snowden has been persecuted for bravely exposing massive illegal government surveillance of all Americans — a finding backed up by U.S. courts as recently as last month. Meanwhile, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress saying this program did not exist, and suffered no consequence whatsoever,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “All charges against Edward Snowden should be dropped. We need to protect whistleblowers, not the powerful elite.”
“Edward Snowden has been unfairly villainized and persecuted for disclosing the true scope of illegal government surveillance. This is unjust. The Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling, holding that the NSA’s bulk collection program was unconstitutional, vindicates him. Charges against Snowden should be dropped,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz. “If anyone deserves to face punishment, it should be James Clapper, who lied under oath about the NSA’s data collection activities, and has never been charged.”
Background: The NSA program that secretly and illegally collected phone records of millions of Americans was exposed by Edward Snowden, who leaked details about it to the press. The program began under President George W. Bush and continued under President Obama. In 2015, the program was officially terminated when Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act. That bill created a new mechanism where phone providers retained their data instead of turning it over to the government.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a consistent champion of whistleblowers throughout her time in Congress.
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