One of these things is not like the others: Recent string of brave whistleblowers shows Edward Snowden was not one

A federal immigration detention facility in Georgia has been forcing immigrant women into having hysterectomies. Federal officials in Washington, DC considered hitting peaceful protesters with “heat rays”, a weapon that makes your skin feel like it’s burning. The illegally-installed head of the Department of Homeland Security ordered an intelligence official to stop reporting on Russia’s invasion of our democracy because it makes Trump “look bad.”

These are all devastating, illegal, abuses of power we learned of in the past 10 days from heroes known as whistleblowers through legal channels.

Dawn Wooten, a nurse who worked at the facility at the Irwin County Detention Center holding immigrants detained by ICE in Georgia was represented by a score of whistleblower and immigration rights groups and filed a complaint with the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a division, as well as other authorities.

DC National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco, who blew the whistle on Trump’s infamous clearing of peaceful protesters on June 1 so he, Trump, could pose with a Bible, gave his whistleblowing testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee. DeMarco had the job of coordinating with National Park Police, which falls under the oversight jurisdiction of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee.

Brian Murphy, the DHS official who revealed Chad Wolf’s attempt to cover up Russian election invasion also filed a complaint with the DHS IG.

Indeed it was, in fact, a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s attempt to blackmail Ukraine brought to the attention of Congress as required by law by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) that got Donald Trump impeached on December 18, 2019.

All of these whistleblowers performed heroic public service by disclosing illegality and blatant abuse, and they did so in a way much of the ideological extremes have been convinced you cannot do: legally. Indeed, the cause-celeb of much of the self-styled steal-and-release bastardization of whistleblowing, Edward Snowden, who chose to take the law into his own hand and become a fugitive, sits comfortably under Vladimir Putin’s protection in Moscow, Russia.

Snowden didn’t have to, because if he truly believed in what his PR flacks on The Intercept say he was doing - exposing mass, illegal government surveillance - he had the same options availed by Dawn Wooten, Maj. DeMarco, and Adam Murphy. Heck, he could have been an anonymous whistleblower like the whistleblower whose report led to the impeachment of the sitting president of the United States.

I say all of the options were available to Snowden, because they were. The full range of the reporting options - from internal reporting to IG complaint to going straight to Congress are all protected under federal whistleblowing statutes, including the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, signed by President Obama. Snowden stole information from the NSA, disclosed them, and fled the country in 2013.

This is because Snowden was not looking to inform the public of abuse. He was trying to gain notoriety through crime.

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