Edward Snowden has accused CNN of twisting facts by claiming that he was willing to forfeit book proceeds in favor of the US government. He even offered a “better” headline for the contested piece.
Citing US court documents, CNN reported that Snowden “agreed” to forfeit more than $5 million he had allegedly earned from his book and speaking fees to the US government. The whistleblower reacted by saying that the news outlet has “badly misreported this.”
“A) This is not a settlement; I didn’t agree to it. B) The judgement from this censorship case is not enforceable while I am in exile, but I’ve never had that much money anyway,” Snowden wrote on Twitter.
He suggested a “better” headline – “US could gain up to $5m by pardoning Edward Snowden” – instead of CNN’s “Edward Snowden agrees to give up more than $5 million from book and speeches.”
CNN badly misreported this.
A) This is not a settlement; I didn’t agree to it.
B) The judgement from this censorship case is not enforceable while I am in exile, but I’ve never had that much money anyway.
Better headline: “US could gain up to $5m by pardoning Edward Snowden.” https://t.co/8jp6IZnOKC
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 22, 2020
CNN added Snowden’s comments to their story but kept the original headline.
Snowden published a memoire titled ‘Permanent Record’ last year, in violation of his contracts with the CIA and the NSA. According to CNN’s story, a federal judge had sided with the Justice Department that filed a lawsuit to seize Snowden’s proceeds.
The news channel quoted Snowden’s lawyer Lawrence Lustberg as saying that the “agreement” filed in court on Tuesday does not mean that the US government will immediately collect the money because Snowden is considering appealing the judge’s previous decision that he was liable for the disclosures.
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A former CIA and NSA contractor, Snowden has been living in Russia since he revealed mass surveillance practices by US spy agencies in 2013. The US has been demanding his extradition on charges of violating the Espionage Age.
If found guilty, Snowden would face up to 30 years in prison. Human rights campaigners and privacy activists consider Snowden to be a whistleblower and demand that he be pardoned.
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