On the occasion of the publication of Permanent Record, a memoir of Edward Snowden's journey from gung-ho would-be special forces sergeant to CIA and NSA spy to whistleblower — a memoir that the US government is suing to repress — Snowden has given an interview with CBS where he expresses his desire to return to the USA and stand trial for his actions, even if that means going to prison.
Snowden's only condition is that this not be a secret military tribunal, and that he be allowed to explain to the jury what motivated him to take the extraordinary step of handing a trove of state secrets to journalists, mounting a "public interest defense" for his actions.
I'm three quarters of the way through the Snowden memoir and I'm looking forward to reviewing it this coming week (watch this space).
I'm not asking for a parade. I'm not asking for a pardon. I'm not asking for a pass. What I'm asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don't want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong. The government wants to have a different kind of trial. They want to use special procedures. They want to be able to close the court room. They want the public not to be able to know what's going on. And essentially, the most important fact to the government, and this is the thing we have a point of contention on, is that they do not want the jury to be able to consider the motivations — why I did what I did. Was it better for the United States? Did it benefit us? Or did it cause harm? They don't want the jury to be able to consider that at all. They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful not whether they were right or wrong. I'm sorry but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial.
(via Naked Capitalism)