An appeals court in California ruled that surveillance of the public by former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Edward Snowden in 2013 was illegal. This is reported by Reuters.
Collecting phone records of U.S. citizens without the permission of the courts violates the “Act on Unspoken Surveillance for Foreign Intelligence.” It is noted that this decision was made during the appeal of the sentence to four Somalis who lived in California. They were convicted in 2013 for funding religious fanatics. U.S. officials pointed out that it was for the purpose of such a struggle that surveillance was conducted, but the court rejected this argument. At the same time, he upheld the sentence of the Somalis, as their telephone conversations were not the main proof.
Snowden himself said afterward that he did not believe he would live to see the day U.S. courts call the NSA’s actions illegal.
On August 16, it was reported that U.S. President Donald Trump was considering pardoning Snowden.
In 2013, Snowden handed over documents to the Guardian and The Washington Post about the U.S. intelligence community’s surveillance program for both U.S. citizens and residents of other countries. He then fled the United States and sought political asylum from several dozen countries, including Russia, where he eventually obtained permission to stay.
In the United States, Snowden is charged with illegally transmitting information of great importance to national security, intentionally transmitting intelligence information, and stealing state property. In total, he faces up to 30 years in prison.