On the Lawfare website, associate professor of law at Columbia Law School David Pozen thinks that if Edward Showden is captured and put to face trial in the United States, things may be end up being unpleasant "for his captors as well."
In the past, leakers typically got off easy. The vast majority were never charged with any crime. The first media leaker convicted under the Espionage Act, Samuel Morison, received a two-year sentence, served eight months, and was later pardoned. However, the Obama administration has taken leak enforcement to a new level. And Snowdens security breach was so remarkable that his sentence could be much stiffer.
If the case law is on its side, why would the government have reason to worry about prosecuting Snowden?
One source of concern is the jury. Snowden says his leaks revealed an unconstitutional and undemocratic system of surveillance. Polls suggest that many Americans agree. Even if the judge instructs the jury to set aside its views on the rightness or wrongness of Snowdens acts, there is no guarantee it will. Jurors might be tempted to acquit Snowden, not because they believe he is factually innocent but because they believe he was morally justified.
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