11:09 GMT01 August 2021
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    Washington accused the former intelligence staffer of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and stealing government property, which is carries a jail sentence of at least 30 years combined.

    Ex-NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden said he could return to the United States and face trial if he was assured that the jury could see the classified material he leaked to understand his judgement.

    "You can't have a fair trial about the disclosure of information unless the jury can evaluate whether it was right or wrong to reveal this information", he stressed. "No one becomes a whistleblower because they want to. No one becomes a whistleblower because it has a happy ending".

    Lines with digits on computer and laptop screens
    © Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
    Lines with digits on computer and laptop screens

    Snowden also warned about ongoing data collection by the authorities via various devices.

    "Where this data that your refrigerator was collecting, that your phone was collecting, that the government was collecting — where all of this data was going was intentionally hidden from us," he said. "We are no longer partner to our technology, in large part, just as we are increasingly, unfortunately, no longer partner to our government, so much as subject to them. And this is a dangerous trend."

    Snowden became famous after leaking classified documents on global surveillance programmes in 2013 when he was a CIA employee and subcontractor. The whistleblower had to flee the country, escaping to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was granted asylum.


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