07:43 GMT13 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden should not be allowed to return to the United States, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a nationally televised debate.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Clinton claimed that Snowden could and should have stayed in the United States taking advantage of legal protections for whistleblowers after he exposed the enormous secret NSA surveillance programs over the entire US population.

    “He broke the laws of the United States. He stole important information. I don't think he should be brought home,” Clinton told the first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

    Another candidate, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley agreed with Clinton and questioned Snowden’s status as a legitimate whistleblower because Snowden sought refuge in Russia.

    “Whistleblowers do not run to Russia,” he argued.

    However, Senator Bernie Sanders, who now leads Clinton in polls in the first voting caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, said Snowden had played an important role in exposing the NSA excesses.

    “He broke the law … but what he did [exposing the NSA surveillance] should be taken into consideration,” the senator said.

    Sanders added that, if elected President, he would shut down the NSA surveillance program.

    “If we are a free country, we have the right to be free. There are ways to do that without impinging on our constitutional rights,” he told the debate audience.

    Snowden leaked classified documents on US mass surveillance activities in 2013. Fearing up to 30 years in prison for his revelations, Snowden fled the United States and was granted one-year temporary asylum in Russia and later a three-year residency permit.

    Snowden, who is still living in Russia, has said he would be willing to return to the United States if he could be sure of a fair trial and a good plea bargain.


    Snowden Talks Jail, Future Robot Wars, and the US’ Anti-Russian Info War
    Snowden Cannot Rely on Fair Trial Since US Pursues Political Agenda
    Whistleblower Edward Snowden Says He Would Return to the US to Face Prison
    Snowden: GCHQ Can Secretly Take 'Total Control' Over Your Smartphone
    You’ve Got Mail: Snowden Gets 47 Gigs Worth’ of Twitter Notification Emails
    'Snowden Supporter' Troll Hijacks US TV With Praise for Ed... Scissorhands
    Whistleblower Edward Snowden Joins Twitter, Twitter Goes Wild
    Edward Snowden Joins Twitter, Follows One Account Only: NSA
    US, China, EU Unlikely to Sign Snowden Treaty as They Have Much to Hide
    German MP Urges Berlin to Back Snowden Treaty to Protect Whistleblowers
    Snowden Treaty: Global Agreement Pitched to Halt Mass Spying
    National Security Agency (NSA), Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Edward Snowden
    Community standardsDiscussion