Opinions on Joe Biden and the Espionage Act


Just like me, Biden also kept classified information outside a secure facility and shared it with the press to express concerns about US policy. However, the prosecutors treated us very differently.
I was released from federal prison in February after serving 33 months for violating the Espionage Act by disclosing classified information on America’s drone assassination program. Shortly after my release, I learned that President Joe Biden was not charged for similar violations, as stated in Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report.
I am always relieved when the Justice Department chooses not to use the Espionage Act, a law that has historically been used to silence dissenting voices by punishing government whistleblowers who expose secret abuses. The decision to prosecute government sources under this law sends a chilling message to others who may consider speaking out against government misconduct.
Hur’s report highlighted the similarities between President Biden’s case and mine, both involving the mishandling of classified information and sharing it with the press to raise concerns about official US policy. Despite these similarities, the decision not to prosecute Biden was based on his perceived good intentions.
Hur believed that prosecuting Biden would not be feasible due to his sympathetic portrayal, suggesting that the president did not intend harm by his actions. In contrast, during my sentencing, the government portrayed me as a threat to public safety, likening me to a criminal.
The Espionage Act does not require proof of intent to harm the country, only that the unauthorized possessor of national defense information knowingly retains and willfully communicates it to unauthorized individuals. While Biden might not have signed a nondisclosure agreement like clearance holders, it would not have been difficult to prove that he knew his actions were unlawful.
Despite this, Biden was not charged because of his perceived good intentions. In contrast, the government prevented me from presenting evidence of my motives, rendering me effectively defenseless due to legal technicalities. I was compelled to plead guilty to avoid a costly trial.
The guilt I felt for sharing classified information pales in comparison to the shame I carry for my role in the deadly drone program. Following my imprisonment, a tragic US drone strike killed Zemari Ahmadi and nine family members, including small children. The Pentagon initially defended the strike before quietly retracting their statements.
I am the only one held accountable for my involvement in the drone program, not for my actions within it but for revealing its deadly truth. I am grateful that Biden received the benefit of the doubt that many whistleblowers before me were denied. However, to truly uphold the values that propelled his presidency, he should pardon whistleblowers and end the harmful policy of “targeted” killings in the global war on terror.


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