To make himself better understood, Edward Snowden even compares the actions of the whistleblowers to a murder committed in self-defense. “If the use of force was necessary and proportional to the threat presented, for example, to defend our own lives, the question of whether it is correct before the law becomes secondary”, he argues. And concludes that “even a criminal act can be an act of public service.” So for him, “there is no doubt that the stories revealed by Rui Pinto aroused public interest“. “And I hope you agree with me”, he concludes.
This is how the former US intelligence analyst, who in 2013 revealed espionage and surveillance schemes, supports Rui Pinto, the author of the biggest leak in football and who is also behind Luanda Leaks. The video was recorded by Snodwden and the Rui Pinto’s lawyers asked that it be shown in the courtroom, during the trial of the alleged hacker, but the court refused, although it considered the video as documentary evidence and had included him in the process. It ended up being published on YouTube in the early hours of this Thursday and it begins: “Thank you for listening to my testimony. My name is Edward Joseph Snowden”
In the nearly nine-minute video, Snowden argues that “it doesn’t matter where the one who denounces comes from” — something that, he says, “even the most perfect laws” will not understand. “It doesn’t matter if you are an employee of the organization. [que denuncia], it doesn’t matter if he was involved in the criminal activity or in the infraction that he will later report”, explains Snowden, who worked at the organization where he denounced illegal spying schemes, unlike Rui Pinto.
What separates Assange, Manning, Snowden and Rui Pinto?
In the video posted on the website of the non-profit association that supports whistleblowers, The Signal Network, Snowden also spoke about his specific case. “My Government would argue that disclosing their illegal and immoral activities, violations of laws and rights in the United States and abroad was a crime in itself. And maybe it’s true. But that means that an act of denunciation must be judged on whether or not it is in the public interest.“, he said, defending that who complains and the circumstances in which they do so “are not the most important factor”.
The former analyst was initially on the list of witnesses listed by Rui Pinto, but at the session on May 19, the defense of the alleged hacker he informed the court that it would no longer be possible to hear him. Although no concrete explanation has been given for the fact that the whistleblower no longer goes to testify in favor of Rui Pinto, the reason may be related to the fact that Snowden is exiled in Russia and a video call connection to the Lisbon Court can lead to its location. Thus, the solution was to record a video in support of the alleged hacker português.
Rui Pinto, the main defendant, is responsible for 90 crimes — all related to the fact of having accessed the computer systems and boxes of emails of people linked to Sporting, Doyen, the law firm PLMJ, the Portuguese Football Federation, the Bar Association and the PGR. Among those targeted are Jorge Jesus, Bruno de Carvalho, then director of DCIAP Amadeu Guerra or lawyer José Miguel Júdice. There are, therefore, 68 for improper access, 14 for violation of correspondence, six for illegitimate access and also for computer sabotage to Sporting’s SAD and an attempt to extort the Doyen investment fund.
Aníbal Pinto, his lawyer at the time of the alleged crimes, he is responsible for the crime of attempted extortion because he served as an intermediary for Rui Pinto in the alleged extortion attempt against Doyen. And that’s why the two sit side by side in front of the panel of judges.
The alleged computer hacker has been in preventive detention since March 22, 2019 and was placed under house arrest on April 8 of this year, in a house provided by the PJ. Following an application filed by the defendant’s defense, the judge Margarida Alves, president of the collective of judges — who is judging Rui Pinto and whose assistants are judges Ana Paula Conceição and Pedro Lucas — decided to release him.