Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Matt Gaetz Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Calling for Charges Against Edward Snowden to be Dropped

October 2, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DCThis week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced H.Res.1162, a resolution calling for the Federal government to drop all charges against Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who exposed illegal and unconstitutional acts of mass surveillance of Americans by the United States government. 
 
“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. Gabbard also introduced a bill, H.R.8452, the Protect Brave Whistleblowers Act, which would enable whistleblowers charged with crimes for violating the Espionage Act to have a fair path toward justice. Snowden has been charged with violations of the Espionage Act, and under this legislation, would be able to speak to his intent or motive for releasing information about the government, which is currently prohibited by law. 
 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a consistent champion of whistleblowers throughout her time in Congress. 
 
She has previously spoken in support of Julian Assange and applauded a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which determined that the warrantless telephone surveillance program that secretly collected phone records of millions of Americans violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The NSA program in question was exposed by Edward Snowden, who leaked details about it to the press.
 
In August, she was joined at a press conference by three medical experts, including a Department of Health employee whistleblower, exposing the lies coming from the Department of Health leadership regarding contact tracing efforts in Hawai’i. She has continued to demand answers and transparency from the State after the whistleblower’s exposure.
 
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has also been an outspoken leader on freedom of speech and technology privacy issues. She has earned an A+ legislative scorecard rating from the Restore the Fourth and Fight for the Future.
 
Rep. Gabbard fought against U.S. intelligence agencies’ actions that threatened the privacy of American citizens. Drawing on her military service and constitutional protections, she admonished the National Security Administration for its sweeping collection of personal data, supported legislation to curtail it, and voiced her support for court decisions aiming to rein in executive overreach.
 
 
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major in the Army Reserves. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
 
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