In defense of Edward Snowden

Updated: 2013-06-20 08:33

By Eric Sommer (China Daily)

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In defense of Edward Snowden

The US government has a bad habit, the habit of falsely accusing others of immoral acts or crimes which it itself commits. In the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, for example, high-ranking American officials - with the Western media in tow - repeatedly claimed that Iraq was armed with weapons of mass destruction which it prepared to use against the US. In reality, it was the US, not Iraq, that had arsenals full of destructive weapons which it subsequently used to invade and occupy Iraq.

Similarly, during his meeting with President Xi Jinping a couple of weeks ago, US President Barack Obama repeated the oft-heard accusation that China was engaged in cyberattacks and cyber espionage against the US. The truth is that Obama himself authorized a secret US program that included surveillance of millions of Americans, and cyber-intrusions into hundreds of Chinese government computers and other such systems across the world.

In the case of former CIA agent and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the US is once again accusing others of its own misdeeds. High-level US officials - with the media again in tow - are accusing Snowden of "treason" for revealing the truly gigantic ambit of the US' domestic as well as global cyber-surveillance and cyber-spying system.

Snowden's crime, if any, pales in comparison with the actions of the US officials who authorized and operated the cyber espionage program. The program is not only a violation of the sovereignty of independent nations, including China; it is also a violation of the US constitution, which is the basic law of the United States.

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