That was then. And now …
Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
NSA bugging program revealed by Snowden was illegal
The large-scale wiretapping program of the US security agency NSA that was revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Edward Snowden is illegal. That is the decision of the federal court of appeal in San Francisco. Moreover, the officials who defended the program at the time did not tell the truth, the court said.
Snowden worked at the NSA and revealed seven years ago that the intelligence agency collects and stores Internet and telephone data on a large scale. According to the court, the NSA violates US intelligence law and possibly also the constitution.
Snowden’s story sparked much outrage. Before that, the intelligence service denied that information was collected on a large scale about US American citizens. Following the revelations, officials defended themselves arguing that espionage is crucial in fighting terror on US soil.
Eg, wiretaps allowed four San Diego residents to be convicted of supporting extremist Muslim groups in Somalia, according to the NSA. However, the court of appeal states that “that allegation is inconsistent with the content of the secret file in the case”. The four remain in prison …
Snowden fled to Hong Kong before making his revelations and then left for Russia, where he remains to date. In the US, he is suspected of leaking state secrets. He has previously said that he only wants to return to his home country if he gets a fair trial.