WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The White House insists on prosecuting former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden to avoid vindicating him amid the expiration of the USA Patriot Act provisions that were used to justify mass surveillance, experts told Sputnik.
“[It is] all political,” former NSA senior executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake said on Tuesday. “[The White House] did not want to make it look like vindication for Snowden.”
At midnight on Monday, three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act authorizing government mass surveillance practices, expired because US lawmakers failed to reach a compromise for their renewal.
Members of Congress have widely criticized the NSA bulk data collection program, which was proclaimed illegal by a US federal appeals court on May 7, 2015.
Former US Central Intelligence Agency officer Larry Johnson told Sputnik on Tuesday that the government demonization of Snowden had “nothing to do with right or wrong.”
“A large bureaucracy is going to demonize any critic,” Johnson said. “This is all about posturing from a political standpoint, so that the people can stay in power and continue to do what they want without any regards to accountability.”
On Tuesday, Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Sputnik that if the United States does not stop being politically biased against his client, a fair trial can never be expected to take place.
Snowden has sought asylum in Russia, but the US authorities have called on him to return to the United States and face trial on charges of espionage and theft of government property. If convicted, Snowden could face up to 30 years in prison.