Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden held forth on Hillary Clinton’s email scandal during an interview with Al-Jazeera on Thursday.
Snowden, who knows a thing or two about compromising national security, was not impressed with Clinton’s excuses. “This is a problem because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of state has, or the director of any top level agency has, knows how classified information should be handled,” he asserted.
He pointed out that there would be consequences for anyone else who did what Clinton has done:
If an ordinary worker at the [S]tate [D]epartment or the Central Intelligence Agency, or anything like that, were sending details about the security of embassies, which is alleged to be in her email … meetings with private government officials, foreign government officials and the statements that were made to them in confidence over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their jobs and lose their clearance, they would very likely face prosecution for it.
Snowden demurred from making an absolute statement about whether Clinton jeopardized national security. “What I can say is that when the unclassified systems of the United States government, which has a full-time information security staff, regularly gets hacked, the idea that someone keeping a private server in the renovated bathroom of a server farm in Colorado is more secure is completely ridiculous,” he declared.
For the record, Snowden does not think much of the current Republican frontrunner, either. “It’s very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that’s made by Donald Trump,” he snorted.
The statement in question involved Trump’s calling Snowden a “total traitor” and musing that “there is still such a thing as execution.” Not much danger of that, as Snowden has been living in the free-speech no-surveillance paradise of Russia, whose leadership would never dream of using him as a pretext to bully key Internet providers into putting their servers where Russian censors could get at them.
The curious intersection of Edward Snowden and Hillary Clinton provides an opportunity to reflect that national security cannot be placed at the mercy of uncontrolled individuals who think they know better than everyone else what should be classified and pass judgment on who should be allowed to keep secrets. Accountability is vital to securing the national interest, except in the minds of lunatics who think only the bad actors of the world should be able to run functional intelligence systems. Not many people are less accountable than Snowden and Clinton.