European Parliament names Snowden for human rights award

Reading from a statement that she said had come from Mr. Snowden, Jesselyn Radack, a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice and a former government whistle-blower,  quoted Mr. Snowden as saying that “the surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time.”

Ms. Radack told Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Monday that Mr. Snowden said in his statement that it should not take what he called “the persecution and exile” of leakers like him to generate robust international debate over the breadth of government surveillance.

“If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely on individual sacrifice, we must create better channels for people of conscience to better inform not only trusted agents of government but independent representatives of the public outside of government,” she said, quoting Mr. Snowden’s message.

The polarization between Europe and the United States over the Snowden affair was laid bare in September when the European Parliament, in a rebuke to Washington, nominated Mr. Snowden for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, considered Europe’s top human rights award. Previous recipients of the award include Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

The hearing was also attended by Thomas A. Drake, a former senior executive at the N.S.A. who leaked information to the media in 2006 about wasteful government spending and alleged snooping on American citizens.
He told the committee that the N.S.A. was “not just eavesdropping on all Americans and building the architecture for a police state in the U.S., it has created the largest set of mass surveillance programs in the history of the world.”

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