Whatever his motivation, Edward Snowden has done more damage to United States national security than any leaker or spy for well over a half century. President Obama’s statements on the case have been ambivalent. While the United States has charged Snowden under espionage statutes and pressured allies and adversaries alike not to grant Snowden refuge, Obama’s quip that he was “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker” signaled a White House desire to downplay the case.
In recent days, the organization which has most rallied to Snowden’s defense has been Human Rights Watch, an organization that purports to defend human rights apolitically, but in recent years seems to have let leftist politics and Saudi fundraising drive its positions. So with Human Rights Watch (HRW) somewhat rallying around Snowden on tenuous grounds, what does the Obama administration do?
Reward Tom Malinowski, the Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, by nominating him to a plum State Department post. The Senate confirmation process is about oversight but, alas, the Senate for more than a generation and across administrations has not shown that it takes its role and responsibility seriously. Let us hope that some senators put two and two together and grill Malinowski on his Snowden position and his work at HRW when he has his hearing. Credibility matters.