Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern Host Edward Snowden in Iowa City

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern Host Edward Snowden in Iowa City

Article excerpt

An audience of approximately 800 greeted former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden with spontaneous cheering and a standing ovation in Iowa City on Sept. 28, when the whistleblower appeared live via Skype from Moscow.

In June 2013 Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act with theftof government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person.

Sharing the stage at the Englert Theatre with Snowden were retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, members of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and the delegation that presented the organization's Sam Adams Award for integrity in intelligence to Snowden.

Snowden spoke at length about abuses of government powers before an audience comprised mostly of students at the University of Iowa.

"We are losing in modern times the ability to enforce accountability for abuses of these powers," Snowden warned. "We saw extraordinary abuses of the war-making power under the last administration and no one was held accountable, no one went to jail, no one was even prosecuted for things that are quite clearly war crimes. We're talking about things that are unambiguous no matter which side of the aisle you are on."

When this stops being a one-off, when it becomes a precedent that becomes a process that becomes a policy that becomes a status quo that we all accept, and the media recognize it and stop castigating the powers that be...Step by step we move down a path and begin to realize that we have lost control over what the government is doing, said Snowden.

"Things that in the previous era, the Cold War, we used as clear bright lines of separation between the 'us' and the 'them,' 'truth, justice and the American way' versus the evil adversary, are beginning to dissipate. …

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