Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Whistleblower Snowden says he would return to US if he receives fair trial

Whistleblower Snowden says he would return to US if he receives fair trial

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former NSA contracter Edward Snowden stated his desire to return to the US in an interview with CBS This Morning on Monday. FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP

Whistleblower Snowden says he would return to US if he receives fair trial

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor living in Russia after leaking information about the US government’s mass surveillance programme, has said he would like to return home if he can get a fair trial.

Snowden, who faces espionage charges that could send him to prison for decades, stated his desire to return to the US in an interview with CBS This Morning broadcast on Monday.

“I would like to return to the US,” said Snowden, whose memoir, Permanent Record, is to go on sale on Tuesday. “That is the ultimate goal.

“But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial,” he said.

“And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defence,” he said.

Snowden, who once worked for the CIA in addition to the NSA, has been living in Russia since leaking thousands of classified documents to the press in 2013 which revealed the scope of US government surveillance after 9/11.

Praised as a whistleblower and a privacy advocate by his defenders, the US accuses Snowden of endangering national security and filed charges against him under the Espionage Act.

Speaking to CBS, Snowden said he was “not asking for a parade”. “I’m not asking for a pardon. I’m not asking for a pass. What I’m asking for is a fair trial.

“And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don’t want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong.

“The government wants to have a different kind of trial,” he said. “They want to use special procedures, they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what’s going on.

“They do not want the jury to be able to consider the motivations – why I did what I did,” he said. “Was it better for the US? Did it benefit us or did it cause harm? They don’t want the jury to consider that at all.

“They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong,” Snowden said. “And I’m sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial.”


  • PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday expressed frustration over claims by Sam Rainsy that he had altered Rainsy’s ticket with Thai Airways to prevent him boarding his November 7 flight to Thailand, from where he had claimed he would enter Cambodia. Hun Sen made the

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • PM urges ‘democracies’ to learn from horrors Cambodia faced

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday chided countries that he said declared themselves a democracy while supporting a military coup that eventually gave birth to the Khmer Rouge regime. Speaking during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit at the Peace Palace, Hun Sen said without naming those

  • Princess Buppha Devi passes away aged 77

    Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, who was famous for her skills and key roles behind the Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, passed away on Monday from unspecified illness at a hospital in the Thai capital Bangkok, according to the official Facebook page of King Norodom Sihamoni. “May

  • PM: Request for release of plotters not due to pressure

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said his request to have the supporters of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his “coup plot” released on bail was not made under international pressure. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 34 roads in Preah Sihanouk

  • Ministry deplores RFA report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday deplored as fake news a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report that it had received a copy of the European Commission’s assessment on the human rights situation in Cambodia as part of the Everything But