Julie Bishop lashes Snowden on US visit

Julie Bishop lashes Snowden on US visit

Summary: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has lashed out at Edward Snowden, accusing the US intelligence leaker of 'unprecedented treachery' after he unveiled Canberra's efforts to spy on Indonesia.


On a visit to Washington, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop praised cooperation with Washington and reserved harsh words for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose revelations led Indonesia to halt work with Australia to stem people smuggling, a key priority for new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Shortly before a meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden, Bishop said that Snowden "continues to shamefully betray his nation while skulking in Russia".

"This represents unprecedented treachery; he is no hero," she added, in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday.

"Snowden claims his actions were driven by a desire for transparency, but in fact they strike at the heart of the collaboration between those nations in world affairs that stand at the forefront of protecting human freedom," she said.

Reports based on Snowden's leaks said that Australia tried to bug the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife, and members of his inner circle in 2009.

Indonesia protested by recalling its ambassador and suspending military and immigration cooperation. More recently, Indonesia responded furiously as Australia nonetheless entered Indonesian waters while picking up asylum seekers, incursions that led to an apology from Canberra.

Snowden, a 30-year-old intelligence contractor, fled the US in May last year after unveiling that his government was collecting telephone data from millions of US citizens, monitoring vast amounts of private internet traffic, and eavesdropping on the conversations of foreign friends and foes alike.

He fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, which granted him asylum for a year.

Snowden has strongly denied allegations of betraying the US, saying that he has not cooperated with foreign agencies and wanted to expose wrongdoing as he had no means to air concerns internally.

Topics: Security, Government AU, Privacy, Australia

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  • Clearly Australia isn't going to give him asylum

    I suppose he could try Switzerland.
    John L. Ries
    • we have our own Palins down here...

      ... and this one isn't stupid, she is just a coward

      Abbott, the PM, is the stupid one, Oz's own dubya...
      • But it appears...

        ...that none of ours are serving in the federal administration, or even as Congressional committee chairmen (though I wonder about the intellect of some of the latter).

        I actually lost all respect for Sarah Palin when she resigned as Governor of Alaska. If she really wanted a future in national politics, she should have finished out her term in Juneau and worked to convince the rest of us she was capable of governing.
        John L. Ries
  • Snowden trumps Bishop

    We clearly need more traitors! If informing the people what their governments are doing is treachery who is the treachery against, is it treachery to tell the people and other governments about your governments distasteful and illegal practices in stealing private records. No it's not treachery to the people, it's just a slanderous term used by a "Government" (which is a collection of about 250 people in Australia) to describe people that release information about what this collection of about 250 do.
    The corporate mob of 250 is running this country.
    Kevin Cobley
  • How about instead of nonsense rambling she apologizes their wrong doing?!

  • Edward Snowden is a hero.

    Without Edward Snowden's bravery the governments of the USA and UK may never have had the opportunity for a full and open debate on their Global mass surveillance activities. I think that the Guardian newspaper deserves recognition too. Julie should also note that earlier today the US privacy watchdog, The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversights Board ruled that the bulk collection of phone and Internet data collected by US Intelligence Agencies is illegal and has only quote "minimal" benefits of preventing terrorism.
    • I'll say it again

      The brave thing to do would be to go home and fight the espionage charges. He might go to jail, but he might also be acquitted, or the judge might throw the case out (which is how Daniel Ellsberg beat the rap) either of the latter would be a major victory and would make life easier for any future whistleblowers who might come along. At present, Mr. Snowden has thrown away his career as a system administrator (sysadmins who don't keep confidences are pretty much unemployable) and had an extended stay in the Moscow airport, but otherwise, he's never been in any real danger.

      Yes, US defendants are sometimes railroaded, but such defendants are usually obscure people who can't afford lawyers. Snowden is high profile and likely there would be at least 10 qualified US lawyers willing to take his case for free.
      John L. Ries
      • Danger

        I'll admit that if Mr. Snowden were to be stupid enough to embarrass his hosts, he'd be on the next flight to Honolulu (it's highly likely that he has some dirt on the Putin Administration as well). And there's also the danger that no government will take him permanently, which means the Russians might end up sending him home when his year is up.
        John L. Ries
      • Defended by whom?

        Such as?
        Dr. Ghostly
        • Any of the ones that have been lionizing him

          Defendants that are causes celebre usually don't have trouble procuring legal representation.
          John L. Ries
  • No facts as usual.

    I can't believe how such a stupid, uninformed numb skull like Julie Bishop got the job of Foreign Minister. She states that this is "unprecedented treachery" when this has happened previously on more than one occasion, eg. Ellsberg leaking secret information about the Vietnam war. His charges were thrown out of court and also became a national hero. Bishop also states that Snowden "is sulking in Russia". Well why wouldn't he be when the US government cancelled his passport. He hasn't got much choice.
    Bishop is just crawling to support the US government's views on this who, through their own stupidity and lack of security, allowed this information to get out in the first place. Last of all, Snowden is a hero because after all, he did what he did to protect the people from a Government, illegally spying on the very sane people they should be protecting.
    It's not surprising that Bishop and this Abbott government are against whistle blowers like Snowden because I'm sure they wouldn't want any more of their sneaky, secretive, illegal and sleazy methods revealed either eg. the spying and bugging of East Timor to gain an advantage on a gas and oil partnership during negotiations.
  • Hers is a political opinion, not a moral opinion

    Isn't it bizarre that the foundation of her opposition to Snowden is that the information he leaked revealed Australia's disgraceful tapping of Indonesian phones. For her, the problem is't that our Govt participated in unsavooury behaviour, but rather that Snowen exposed it. One has to wonder about the moral fibre of a person who criticises someone else who has a conscience, while having no conscience themselves. Not surprisingly she has a colleague who deliberatley sends navy vessels in to Indonesian waters to tow back boats, then apologises, saying the transgression was inadvertant! The whole of our current Govt has no integrity or decency.
  • Don't shoot the messenger

    Snowden is only reporting the crimes that governments commit, we need many more like him, if I reported a crime to the police I shouldn't be the one being sent to jail, and how can Bishop talk of human freedom when governments are taking away our freedoms, we don't even have the freedom of privacy anymore.

    Do governments really expect people to believe all this spying is for national security reasons? if so that must mean the Indonesian President and his wife are threats to Australia's national security, they must be terrorists.

    The simple reality is that national security has become the excuse Governments use that allows them to basically do whatever they want in secret without questions asked and without accountability.
  • Caught with her pants down - again!

    This indignant tirade is typical of deceivers and psychopaths who get caught in the bright search-light of truth when they are caught with their pants down.
    Dr. Ghostly