Hillary Clinton asserted at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands.”
She seemed to be darkly intimating that the information Snowden gave to journalists in Hong Kong before he was granted asylum in Moscow also ended up with the Chinese and/or Russian governments.
But that conclusion is entirely unsupported by the evidence; it’s a political smear that even the most alarmist Obama administration intelligence officials have not asserted as fact.
Clinton’s comments on Snowden were flawed in more than one way. She also insisted, incorrectly, that he could have accomplished his goals by going through normal channels.
“He could have been a whistleblower. He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower. He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that,” she said.
But Snowden, as a contractor, was not covered by whistleblower protections. He did try going through established channels, but he said his concerns fell on deaf ears. And the response to his leaks has made abundantly clear that no one in his chain of command was the least bit interested in going public with the information.