Snowden raised concerns with supervisors before going to the press

It’s still hard for some of us to grasp the motives behind Edward Snowden’s decision to go straight to the press.

Some question why government officials were never warned that pressing concerns related to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs had to be addressed , and some even question the goals behind the final disclosure of the confidential programs to the press.

While all questions are valid and should be addressed timely, recent reports show that Snowden’s recent testimony to the European Parliament assured the public that his concerns had been discussed with at least 10 officials before he decided to go to the press. According to the report, Snowden would have a hard time pursuing any further whistleblowing mainly because of his status as a contractor.

According to the testimony, the decision to go to the press to leak confidential documents only came to Snowden after he exhausted all other formal avenues.

When asked about the circumstances, Snowden replied that he “had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them.” Edward Snowden’s status as an employee of a private company hired by the U.S. government makes it impossible for the contractor to be protected by whistleblower laws, which are only valid to U.S. government direct employees.

Snowden claimed that because he encountered these legal issues, he feared he “would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.”

This brings light to another issue: President Obama’s claims assuring the public that Snowden had other ways of bringing the spying problems to light, which did not involve making confidential details regarding the NSA programs available to the wide public through the press.

According to a news conference in August, President Obama brought up Presidential Policy Directive 19 in order to support his claims that Snowden could have used official channels to have the information properly evaluated, but the system’s laws would have not applied to Snowden, whose contractor status kept him from raising concerns with his superiors.

Snowden’s only choice was to do what he did, since the law does not allow him to use official channels under any circumstance.

When talking about the reactions he got from superiors who listened to his concerns, Snowden replied that officials would either encourage him to drop the subject entirely or be watchful and mindful of the retaliation.

“Everyone in the Intelligence Community is aware of what happens to people who report concerns about unlawful but authorized operations,” he said, “there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.” According to the whistleblower, high-ranking officials he discussed his concerns with all said they could not recall when was the last time an official complaint led to a direct closure or discontinuation of an unlawful government program.

President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan E. Rice, and the President himself have advised Edward Snowden to return to the United States where he should face legal consequences for the three felonies he was charged with and that are all linked to the leaks.

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