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On The Front Lines

Rutherford Institute Offers Assistance to Bruce Fein, Snowden Family as They Travel to Russia to Meet with NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

WASHINGTON, DC — The Rutherford Institute has offered its full and complete assistance to attorney Bruce Fein and the Snowden family as they confront the United States government’s accusations that Edward Snowden violated the Espionage Act by publicly releasing classified information about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) expansive spying powers. Fein, who serves on the Board of Directors for The Rutherford Institute, will accompany Lon Snowden, father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, to Russia. Snowden came to prominence in June 2013 when he released a trove of data revealing the extent of the NSA’s massive surveillance network, especially as it targets American citizens. Since publicizing the NSA documents, Snowden has fled to Moscow, where he has been granted temporary asylum. Fein joined The Rutherford Institute’s Board of Directors in early 2013.

“The America we learned about in school, the one celebrated in songs and poems, the one to which our ancestors flocked in hopes of starting a new life based upon promises of wealth and liberty, is getting harder to find with every passing day,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “When whistleblowers—courageous Americans who dare to hold a mirror to the corrupt face of American government—find themselves seeking refuge in Russia rather than facing life in prison or, worse, the death penalty for insisting that our government abide by the rule of law, that should serve as a rude awakening to their fellow Americans that we are moving ever closer to a police state.”

Attorney Bruce Fein has had a long career in Washington, serving as a former Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States, an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the Brookings Institute and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Fein has also consistently opposed the growth of the federal government post-9/11, speaking out against legislation such as the Patriot Act. In coming to the Snowden family’s aid, Fein disputed President Obama’s claim that Edward Snowden is not a patriot, suggesting instead that “a patriot is someone who saves his country from his government.” Responding to criticisms that Snowden did not adhere to established methods of whistleblowing, Fein noted that such traditional methods of whistleblowing have been compromised by members of Congress who have failed to disclose information about the government’s massive surveillance programs to the American public. In conjunction with Snowden’s father, Lon, Fein has established that the Snowden family would reject any sort of plea deal with the United States government and would prefer to have all of the facts of the case, as well as the NSA spying, vetted in open court.