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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 20 January 2017 > THE EDWARD SNOWDEN FILES

THE EDWARD SNOWDEN FILES

A THREE-YEAR INVESTIGATION FOUND THAT KEY PARTS OF SNOWDEN’S STORY ABOUT WHAT SECRETS HE STOLE AND WHY DO NOT CHECK OUT

On SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 days before the premiere of Oliver Stone’s hagiographic movie Snowden, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International launched a well-funded campaign, with full-page ads in The New York Times, imploring President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, a former contract worker at the National Security Agency (NSA), for stealing a vast number of secret documents. “I think Oliver will do more for Snowden in two hours than his lawyers have been able to do in three years,” said Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner.

A president can pardon anyone for any crime for any reason, or no reason at all, but, as the hours tick away on his presidency, it is unimaginable that Obama, a former law lecturer, will ignore all he knows about what Snowden did and absolve him of his crimes.

This may surprise many people, in part because most of what they know about this case came from the mouth (and tweets) of a single source, Edward Snowden. Here is the sanitized version of his story: On May 20, 2013, just over a month after he began working at the NSA Cryptologic Center in Hawaii, he failed to show up for work. He called in sick—but he wasn’t sick, he was running. He had flown to Hong Kong with a massive cache of stolen secrets. While in Hong Kong, he gave a very small portion of these documents to three handpicked journalists: Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based documen tary filmmaker; Glenn Greenwald, a Brazil-based blogger; and Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for The Washington Post. The exposés these journalists produced, based on those documents, dominated the headlines for weeks. As the world reeled, Snowden vanished again, this time for 13 days, from June 11 to June 23, before turning up in Russia, which gave him sanctuary, protection and a global platform for his campaign to expose further NSA secrets, and which offered to protect him from prosecution for his crimes.

IN FROM THE COLD: Although the U.S. State Department revoked Snowden’s passport, Putin allowed him to fly to Moscow and gave him sanctuary.
FROM LEFT: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/TASS/GETTY; CAROLYN KASTER/AP; PREVIOUS SPREAD: BRYAN BEDDER/GETTY
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About Newsweek International

The world has changed considerably since the global elite last convened at Davos, Switzerland, so delegates at this year’s World Economic Forum meeting would do well to seek inspiration from individuals rather than institutions. The Edward Snowden Files A three-year investigation found that key parts of Snowden’s story about what secrets he stole and why do not check out
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