Friday, July 19, 2013

Former Senator Questions US Pushing Snowden into Russia's Arms

The email correspondence of former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who represented New Hampshire in the US Senate from 1979-1990, saying that NSA leaker Edward Snowden had "done the right thing done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States constitution'" was published in the Guardian this week.. Humphrey has no plans to become a "pen pal" with Snowden, but is working hard to get him out of Russia and receive asylum in a country more friendly to the United States. Yesterday, he was meeting with a lawyer that specializes in asylum issues to get advice. He also plans to get in contact with the Swedish professor who nominated the whistleblower for a Nobel Prize and others in Sweden. 

The former Senator said, "I believe that Edward Snowden is a whistleblower. The United States has isolated him so he can only seek asylum from unfriendly countries. I am working to stimulate interest in Sweden, a friendly but independent country, to offer him whistleblower protection."

He thinks it is a mistake for the United States to push Snowden into Russian arms. 

"Putin is not to be trusted," he said. "I am afraid that the Russian Intelligence Service will find Snowden in a comprising situation or manufacture one and then he will be forced to betray his country. Just this week, they convicted an activist on trumped up charges and sentenced him to five years for speaking out."

Humphrey is pushing for Sweden, a country that is friendly to the United States but independent, to take Snowden. He chose Sweden because of its history with the Nobel Prize and its long record of civil society. Perhaps most importantly because the hour long flight from Russia to Russia to Sweden will not require flying over another country. 

He said, "I was shocked at the level of arrogance and the dangerousness the United States risked in its efforts in preventing the plane of the Bolivian president from flying over European airspace."

Humphrey will not stop once Snowden has asylum. 

"Although government has never been a Boy Scout troop, the period that I served in Washington was the age of innocence compared to what is going on," said the former Senator. "We tried to do the right thing. I couldn't imagine that we would be tracking millions of people every day. This is the latest in a growing list of lawlessness. The IRS investigating organizations based on their political beliefs and subpoenaing an AP reporter's records are other examples. It is time to stand up. We have to restore our constitutional limits. We must return to the rule of law."

He wants to see those that ordered the massive spying prosecuted.

"We need to bring to justice those that have trampled our rights," said Humphrey. "Congress has so far made on effort to find out who ordered this and remove them from office. Yahoo and Google were forced to be accomplices and turn over private emails to public officials."

He blames the revolving door between government service and lobbying for creating the culture that allowed unquestioned mass surveillance to go on. 

"With the revolving door of government and lobbying, we have created masters, not servants, of the people. They are showing contempt for the people," said Humphrey, who deliberately left the Senate after two terms and hates even driving through Washington now. "Their attitude is that they can do what they please. They have forgotten that the people not government are their clients.

He does not expect current members of Congress to support his efforts. 

"There are 38 members of Congress serving on committees overseeing the NSA," said Humphrey. "Feinstein, who has been there too long, and the other members of Congress have lost perspective. They would have to admit that they did something wrong. That is why they are clamoring for Snowden's head."

He is hoping that former members of Congress, who can be more independent, will contact him. He has received a few emails of support, but none yet from any former members of Congress. 

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