Krauthammer, Analysts: Administration Seems Fearful in Charging Snowden

Friday, 21 Jun 2013 08:38 PM

By Greg Richter

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Federal prosecutors charged NSA leaker Edward Snowden with espionage and other charges late Friday afternoon, leaving little time for pundits to digest the news before commenting.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now.

"I'm surprised they would dump it on a Friday afternoon unless they're not that interested in publicity, which I suppose is true," columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News. Washington is famous for its late Friday "document dumps" when government offices hope to get minimal press coverage for stories it would rather not have covered at all.

Washington Post Digital Opinion Editor James agreed, tweeting, "That the U.S. govt. charged Edward Snowden on a Fri. afternoon tells you they don't think public opinion is on their side."

The Pew Research Center noted that its poll shows 54 percent of Americans support prosecuting the 29-year-old contractor who leaked details of the National Security Agency's programs to monitor phone calls and Internet communications.

Liberal movie-maker Michael Moore, who has formed an unlikely alliance with conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on the issue, tweeted, "I support them putting him in a cell next to the one where they keep Dick Cheney."

Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian writer who broke the story, tweeted, "Anyone have interest in a criminal investigation to discover which 'officials' leaked news of the sealed indictment?"

Greenwald said on MSNBC that most people don't object to Snowden being charged with a crime, but he called espionage "extreme zealousness" on the part of the White House.

Snowden did not aid foreign enemies, Greenwald said, but instead talked to newspapers, asking them to vet the information based on what was important for American citizens to know versus what might compromise national security.

"That is not espionage in any real sense of the word," Greenwald said. The Espionage Act of 1917 "has been used very sparingly throughout American history until the Obama administration, which has embraced it with an extreme vigor," Greenwald added.

Krauthammer said Snowden's chances for acquittal are "practically zero" – assuming Hong Kong, where he is hiding, agrees to extradite him.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now.

And from the American Embassy in China, U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke's Chief of Staff Jim Scuitto found irony in the television offerings where he has taken residents. He tweeted, "Alright it cannot be coincidence that China's Phoenix TV is airing '1984' right now!"

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