Snowden – His ‘Betrayal’, His Lawyer, His Movie

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As Oliver Stone’s latest, biggest remaking of history – “Snowden” – is about to be released the push to pardon the whistleblower/traitor (take your pick) has entered pre-release high gear.

But will Edward Snowden, the

Snowden, a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) and Shailene Woodley (The Divergent series) is set for release on Friday and  the moves to  get a full presidential pardon is getting some major hand from Hollywood.

Snowden, who is in exile in Moscow, faces multiple criminal charges in the U.S. under the Espionage Act.

So what of the movie – hero or villain?  How difficult would that be to answer with Oliver Stone?

As Fortune reported –

The movie . . depicts Snowden as a hero and patriot, following him from precocious CIA worker to contractor for the National Security Agency, when he famously leaked classified documents exposing the wide scope of the government’s Internet surveillance at home and abroad. “It tells a true story about our government’s deployment of a global mass surveillance system without democratic consent. And, it tells a true story about the person who came forward to reveal that to journalists out of a sense of patriotism, conviction, and love of country,” said Ben Wizner, who is Snowden’s lawyer and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

The Snowden Lawyer

The lawyer who assisted Snowden in his escape is Canadian-born, Hong Kong-based human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo.

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Tibbo is the busiest human rights lawyer in Hong Kong and has dealt with eviction notices, improper charges on utility bills and general complaints about not having enough money to buy groceries, which he temporarily rectifies by reaching into his own pocket.

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“Good lawyers are hard to find, but one with a big heart is even more rare,” said Jonathan Man, a solicitor at Hong-based Ho, Tse Wai & Partners who has worked on numerous cases with Tibbo.

In 2013 Tibbo landed his most famous client in Edward Snowden.


As National Post report –  For two frantic weeks in June 2013, he helped Edward Snowden, the former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor who leaked an unprecedented cache of classified documents to the media, escape Hong Kong and the clutches of U.S. law enforcement.

The Post’s interview with Tibbo is fascinating reading –

Even Snowden won’t answer the question, deferring to Tibbo in an encrypted text message to the National Post. “Let him speak to this one. I’ve got to say that he’s earned it. There aren’t a lot of lawyers who could successfully protect their client in the midst of something like that.”

Jonathan Man said his Canadian partner took on a lot of responsibility during the frantic days when sheltered the U.S. fugitive. “He had a lot more pressure on him than I did. Most of the plan was Robert, but we executed it together,” he said.

Judgment day for Snowden will come from the Stone movie – and from President Obama and the developing rumors of a pardon for the whistleblower/traitor. Some commentators, including the “Opinion Journal’s” Mary Kissel and U.C. Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo do not believe is pardon is warranted.

History will, however, be the final judge.


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