GOP Rep: Letting Snowden Speak at SXSW Encourages ‘Lawlessness’

Edward Snowden speaking today was perhaps the most widely anticipated event at this year’s SXSW conference, but before Snowden spoke, a Republican member of Congress sent a letter to organizers warning them not to give a platform to someone who engaged in “lawless” behavior when he took classified NSA documents.

Mike Pompeo sent a letter to SXSW organizers, obtained by POLITICO, saying he’s “deeply troubled” by the inclusion of someone “whose only apparent qualification is his willingness to steal from his own government.” He said that to give Snowden that kind of platform would be to encourage “the very lawlessness he exhibited.”

Pompeo goes point-by-point down a list of misconceptions he believes need to be cleared up about Snowden, including the claim that Snowden cares more about his own ego than helping the country.

“Mr. Snowden’s continued pursuit of the limelight has little to do with online privacy and everything to do with ensuring that he stays in the good graces of his new home nation. Once he stops doing interviews attacking America’s ability to collect intelligence lawfully, he stops being useful to the Kremlin.”

He also laments how Snowden “gives real whistleblowers a bad name,” acknowledging that SXSW should be a place for “informed discourse” but cannot do so if they give a platform to “an at-large criminal.”

[photo via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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