Critics: Pulitzer No 'Vindication' for Snowden's 'Crimes'

Monday, 14 Apr 2014 09:00 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Critics of NSA secrets' spy-leaker Edward Snowden Monday condemned the awarding of journalism's highest prize to newspapers that exposed the extent of the agency's global snooping, including Americans' emails and cell phones.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King was the first to blast the decision to give Pulitzer prizes to The Washington Post and the Guardian US, recognizing their coverage based on Snowden's classified documents dump.

King tweeted his disgust, calling the newspapers "Snowden enablers," and their prizes a "disgrace."

https://twitter.com/RepPeteKing

"To be rewarding illegal conduct, to be enabling a traitor like Snowden, to me is not something that should be rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize," King later told The Associated Press.

"Snowden has violated his oath. He has put American lives at risk," he said.

Liam Fox, former British secretary of state for defense and a current member of Parliament, ripped Snowden as "a self-publicizing narcissist."

In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on Monday night, he said Snowden "thinks of himself as a cyber-age guerrilla warrior."

"Let us not imbue his cowardice with higher motives. Let us not confuse his egotism with public service," Fox wrote. "Let's not call his treachery by lesser terms. Let us be clear about the intent and impact of his actions. Let us be clear to the American people and their allies about the threats they now face from enemies inside and out, terrorist and criminal. For once, let's say what we mean. Let us call treason by its name."

Despite Snowden's claim the Pulitzers vindicated him, John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general, told Politico it most certainly did not.

“I’m not surprised the Pulitzer committee gave The Washington Post a prize for pursuing a sensationalist story, even when the story is a disaster for its own country,” he said.

“I don’t think we need automatically read the prize as a vindication for Snowden’s crimes. Awarding a prize to a newspaper that covered a hurricane does not somehow vindicate the hurricane, [and] awarding a Pulitzer for a photo of a murder does not somehow vindicate the crime.”

Snowden's critics have long decried leaks they say have hurt national security, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who in January blasted Snowden's "real acts of betrayal" that "place America’s military men and women at greater risk."

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also suggested the journalists reporting on the leaks had acted as Snowden's "accomplices."

Another lawmaker who's made it clear he wants to succeed Rogers, a Michigan Republican, as committee chairman feels exactly the same way, Newsmax reported this month.

In an exclusive interview, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, responded Snowden was "obviously, a traitor," adding: "What Snowden did cost us lives and billions of dollars."

But it's not just government officials who've been skeptical of Snowden.

“I think he broke the law, so I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates said.

“If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of ‘OK, I’m really trying to improve things.’ You won’t find much admiration from me.”

King has been a strident critic of the Snowden leaks, telling Newsmax TV earlier this year it "put American lives at risk."

King pointed to a Pentagon report characterizing the confiscation of intelligence secrets the largest theft of its kind in U.S. history.

"I would certainly hope that people who somehow think that Snowden is a whistleblower or even some kind of hero or patriot will realize the extraordinary damage he's caused to our country," King told Newsmax TV in February, adding: "It's going to put our military at risk. It can cause Americans to lose their lives — and I just wish that more Americans would realize that and not see him as some kind of hero."

The administration in January announced reforms to reign in the NSA's collection of Americans' phone data.

Snowden's been charged with three offenses in the U.S., including espionage, and could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. He's currently living in Russia, which granted him asylum for one year.


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