Letter From Edward Snowden’s Father And His Lawyer, Bruce Fein, To President Obama

Lonnie Snowden(Reuters) – The father of fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden on Friday criticized Congress for failing to rein in a sweeping surveillance program made public by his son and accused the Obama administration of pursuing him with a “zeal to punish.”

Lonnie Snowden has not had direct communication with his son since he fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, but sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday defending his son’s actions as similar to acts of civil disobedience.

“We thus find your administration’s zeal to punish Mr. Snowden’s discharge of civic duty to protect democratic processes and to safeguard liberty to be unconscionable and indefensible,” the letter to Obama said.

“We are also appalled at your administration’s scorn for due process, the rule of law, fairness, and the presumption of innocence as regards Edward,” he wrote in the letter posted on MSNBC’s website.

Letter From Edward Snowden’s Father And His Lawyer, Bruce Fein, To President Obama [continued]

Letter to Obama from Snowden’s Father:

Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc.
722 12th Street, N.W., 4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 703-963-4968

July 26, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution

Dear Mr. President:

You are acutely aware that the history of liberty is a history of civil disobedience to unjust laws or practices. As Edmund Burke sermonized, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Civil disobedience is not the first, but the last option. Henry David Thoreau wrote with profound restraint in Civil Disobedience: “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”

Thoreau’s moral philosophy found expression during the Nuremburg trials in which “following orders” was rejected as a defense. Indeed, military law requires disobedience to clearly illegal orders.

A dark chapter in America’s World War II history would not have been written if the then United States Attorney General had resigned rather than participate in racist concentration camps imprisoning 120,000 Japanese American citizens and resident aliens.

Civil disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jim Crow laws provoked the end of slavery and the modern civil rights revolution.

We submit that Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures of dragnet surveillance of Americans under § 215 of the Patriot Act, § 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, or otherwise were sanctioned by Thoreau’s time-honored moral philosophy and justifications for civil disobedience. Since 2005, Mr. Snowden had been employed by the intelligence community. He found himself complicit in secret, indiscriminate spying on millions of innocent citizens contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the First and Fourth Amendments and the transparency indispensable to self-government. Members of Congress entrusted with oversight remained silent or Delphic. Mr. Snowden confronted a choice between civic duty and passivity. He may have recalled the injunction of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” Mr. Snowden chose duty. Your administration vindictively responded with a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Espionage Act.

From the commencement of your administration, your secrecy of the National Security Agency’s Orwellian surveillance programs had frustrated a national conversation over their legality, necessity, or morality. That secrecy (combined with congressional nonfeasance) provoked Edward’s disclosures, which sparked a national conversation which you have belatedly and cynically embraced. Legislation has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate to curtail or terminate the NSA’s programs, and the American people are being educated to the public policy choices at hand. A commanding majority now voice concerns over the dragnet surveillance of Americans that Edward exposed and you concealed. It seems mystifying to us that you are prosecuting Edward for accomplishing what you have said urgently needed to be done!



A free, once–weekly e-mail round-up of liberty news, articles and activism.

  • Milt Farrow

    The S.O.B. should not be sent a letter, but a notice of Impeachment along with his two “newfound buddies” Bush& Cheny, who gave us 9-11 and the beginning of WW 3 with their planned destabilization on the Mideast-They have trashed the constitution and the bill of rights as far as I am concerned WE HAVE NO LONGER A LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT an d despite what the “congressional Pukes” may say- They are as guilty as the bastards who have “pulled the trigger” and “Killed lady liberty” They all have to be charged and tried by a GRAND JURY OF THE PEOPLE -This Government has turned Rolgue and is being controlled by The Military and the Corporations- OBAMA is meaningless at this point -

  • milfarrow

    Great Choice of Attorney, Bruce Fein is the Best of the best !

  • Robert Zraick

    These tyrants in office are faced with a real dilemma. They must do what is correct and Constitutional which goes against all their schemes of tyrannical destruction of the country, or they will reveal to the world the depths of their own treason and complete lack of ethics, decency and respect for the law.
    There are still enough true Americans who will stand up to the tyranny which has our country in a death grip. Although there are many who have abandoned our country, choosing instead to support the corrupt government making the error that the government is the same thing as the country.
    Now there is an arrogance being exposed world wide. Threatening other countries with sanctions for offering asylum to whistle blowers who have only expose the truth, shows the true despicable character of the traitors in power.
    As is historically true in every case, tyrants eventually go too far. It is at that point that the world says, enough is enough. Perhaps we have reached that point. I hope for the sake of our country and for the promise of freedom to the world, that the criminals who have devastated the world with their attempts to dominate through war, and coercion, and have committed crimes against humanity will be toppled.

  • http://freedomsphoenix.com FascistNation

    He is being too kind. The NSA is spying on EVERY American who is online. On the phone. And sends or receives mail. Pretty much all of us. Gross and broad violations of the laws and CONstitution. Indeed, every keystroke I am currently typing out is being dutifully logged…even those I choose to backspace and delete. I am absolutely confident not a single one of the co****ckers responsible will even face a day behind bars, much less be inconvenienced. Yet I am certain enormous expenditure will be made to either imprison or murder young Snowden for exposing this nest of vipers.

  • Patrick Henry

    Obama and company should all be hung in the street for treason. Time for true patriots to consider vigilanty justice

  • NVN777

    Obummer won’t even waste his time reading this letter.

  • Pingback: Begging the Masters for Liberty - Unofficial Network()

  • 1Finngal

    I so hope that Snowden and his family realize just how many people consider him a hero – not a criminal. The real criminals are those in the NSA, in this administration that support the illegal activities they have undertaken, and all those who allow this to continue without speaking out.

  • Pingback: Thank You, Russia? - Liberty Crier()