I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, December 30, 2013

ACLU's Ben Wizner on Meet the Press

Meet the Press, December 29, 2013:

DAVID GREGORY:  Would he come back to the United States under any circumstances?
MR. WIZNER:  Sure, he would come back to the United States.  He hopes to come back to the United States.  I mean, do you like… 

GREGORY:  But only if given some deal, some amnesty?

MR. WIZNER:  You know, amnesty is not a dirty word.  There’s a lot of people in this town, including some who have been on your show, who have been given amnesty.  We just don’t call it that.   

Lying to congress is a crime.  Torturing prisoners is a very serious crime.  There are lots of times when people violate the law and society decides for one reason or another to look forward rather than backwards.   I think that this one of those cases.  Mr. Snowden’s disclosures had been profoundly valuable to the country and to the world.

They’ve really changed the whole debate here.  And I also think that there is much that the United States could gain through conversation with him.
GREGORY:  I understand your-- your point of view.  And I wonder if you can understand those who believe that here is Mr. Snowden, who has great faith in the American constitution, who is in exile in Russia, a country that does not have faith in our constitution, or in the freedoms that it affords.
MR. WIZNER:  Absolutely. And I actually think if there is one thing that we all should agree on, it’s that Edward Snowden shouldn’t be in Russia.  The reason why he’s in Russia is that the United States revoked his passport when he was transiting through there.  And I hope that the U.S. will-- will see that it’s not in anybody’s best interests for him to be there, and that even if he isn’t going to return here, that there should be some other place where he can live.