Dont prosecute whistleblowers like Edward Snowden says UN Report

United States has been hounding the NSA contractor and serial whistleblower, Edward Snowden since 2013. Snowden has been charged with three felonies, including two under the heavy-handed World War I-era Espionage Act, which does not allow defendants to make the argument that their actions were in the public interest. In fact under pressure from United States, all major western countries have declared Snowden to be a fugitive. Recently another whistleblower leaked details of the US drone program in Afghanistan and Yemen. He/she will also be prosecuted when his identity is investigated by the law enforcement agencies.

Under the circumstances, the U.N. has come out in support of whistleblowers. The UN for free speech has stated stated that that confidential sources and whistleblowers are a crucial element of a healthy democracy, and that governments should protect them rather than demonize them.

The report by David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, also highlights the harsh treatment of whistleblowers in the U.S., most notably former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is living in Russia as fugitive from the U.S. government.

Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, notes in his report that “Snowden’s revelations of surveillance practices” made “a deep and lasting impact on law, policy and politics.”

In a statement accompanying the report in response to Kaye’s questionnaire, U.S. officials acknowledged that government employees who deal with classified material are not covered by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. But they insisted that those employees “retain the ability to report any perceived government fraud, waste, or abuse to appropriate inspectors general, other executive branch oversight entities, and certain members of Congress while preserving any national security interests at issue.”

However the US government has a separate policy for whistleblowers who risk national security. According to that policy, anyone who discloses secrets “with the intent, or with reason to believe, that the information is to be used, or could be used, to injure or harm the United States, or to advantage a foreign nation” is liable to be persecuted.

It remains to be seen whether the UN report has any affect on the future whistleblowers in United States.

Resource : Intercept.

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