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Hillary Clinton: I Don’t Give Snowden Credit for the Privacy Debate

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Posted on Jul 5, 2014
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The former secretary of state tells The Guardian in a video interview that if whistle-blower Edward Snowden is “serious” about joining the debate over “the tension between privacy and security,” he can come home. “But that’s his decision,” she adds.

To Clinton, the likely 2016 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, Snowden broke the law; however, as a lawyer she holds that “he has a right to mount a defense. And he certainly has a right to launch both a legal defense and a public defense, which can of course affect the legal defense.” She claims, however, to be unaware of what the former NSA contractor would be charged with upon return since the indictments are “sealed.”

And according to Clinton, the crucial debate taking place today about the NSA’s global surveillance, which came to public light due to Snowden’s courageous leaks to former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, has nothing to do with the whistle-blower. “The debate about how to better balance security and liberty was already going before he fled,” Clinton says. “I don’t give him credit for the debate. I think he may have raised the visibility.”

Despite her attempts to belittle Snowden’s role in the ongoing conversation about privacy, one thing seems pretty clear: Without his input, the American people (and the rest of the world) would be unaware of the extent to which the NSA was collecting data without our consent. And how a true debate could be held in the public arena without that information is beyond me.

Clinton starts talking about Snowden at 13 minutes and 31 seconds in response to a question from Guardian Editor-in-Chief, Alan Rusbridger:

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