Edward Snowden’s case Research Essay

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The criminal law's Espionage Act governs the trial in Edward Snowden's case. In accordance with this law, Snowden is regarded as having broken US Code sections 793 and 798. (Bomboy, 2017). Snowden will face legal action for willfully disclosing state-owned, highly-classified intelligence material to unauthorized parties, as per section 798 of the US Code. According to Section 793, Snowden is charged with disclosing material without authorization in support of the national defense, which carries a prison sentence.

Since Snowden breaches the United States government's Espionage Act, state law enforcement officials lack the authority to detain him. Besides, he is considered as a spy who intentionally leaks out information from the National Security Agency despite being a government contractor, which makes the case a federal case rather than a state case. Also, Snowden cannot be prosecuted in a state court but instead in the federal court. State courts are not allowed to deal with matters that involve either the United States government of the Constitution, which is limited to the federal court prosecution.

Snowden’s actions violate both moral and substantive laws since, as a U.S. citizen, he has a responsibility to protect the government from manipulation. Therefore, since he manipulates the government by disclosing the sensitive information, he disrespects the state and threatens the security of the rest of the population.

The criminal justice system holds that leaking the confidential information from NSA is considered as theft of the U.S. government property. Access to the internet and phone records by NSA is approved under the Patriotic Act making Snowden’s actions liable to a criminal action.


Bomboy, S. (2017). Understanding Snowden and the Espionage Act in three minutes - National Constitution Center. National Constitution Center – constitutioncenter.org. Retrieved 25 October 2017, from https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/understanding-snowden-and-the- espionage-act-in-three-minutes

July 15, 2023

Law Government

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