Edward Snowden accused Hillary Clinton of “a lack of political courage” for asserting during the Democratic presidential debate that he had bypassed options for disclosing illegal government spying programs that would have granted him whistleblower protections against retaliation from superiors.

The Guardian reports:

Speaking via satellite at a privacy conference at New York’s Bard College on Friday, Snowden said: “Hillary Clinton’s claims are false here.”

“This is important, right?” Snowden told an audience at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. “Truth should matter in politics, and courage should matter in politics, because we need change. Everyone knows we need change. And we have been aggrieved and in many ways misled by political leaders in the past.”

Before Snowden spoke, Clinton repeated the claim on Friday, at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire. After a voter said Snowden was “close to a patriot,” BuzzFeed reported, Clinton disagreed and said he could have received whistleblower protections but instead chose to break the law.

“He broke the laws of the United States,” Clinton said at the debate on Tuesday. “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.”

Multiple passes at fact-checking Clinton’s claim this week have concluded that “the protections of being a whistleblower” do not exist in the real world and did not apply to Snowden. A 1989 whistleblower law, for example, does not apply to intelligence community employees. A separate law for would-be intelligence whistleblowers has been deemed a trap because it has led not to protections but to prosecutions.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig