The European Union voted today to drop the charges against National Security Administration leaker Edward Snowden and protect him from extradition. By a vote of 285-281, the EU passed a resolution that protects Snowden “in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.”
In what’s become classic Snowden style, he reacted to the news on Twitter:
But his assessment that the resolution is not about the United States is wrong. The text states the EU is upset and worried about neighboring countries spying on one another in cahoots with the U.S. They’re particularly concerned about the NSA surveillance program, which was revealed earlier this year to be spying on French presidents and German media. The German intelligence agency, BND, gave the NSA technical assistance to help them spy on European citizens’ Internet activity and communications, and all of Europe basically lost their minds in anger.
The resolution isn’t legally binding. As Buzzfeed explains:
For starters, there were never any charges against Snowden within the EU to begin with. […] The measure that passed through the European Parliament was a non-binding, non-legislative resolution. More important than the Snowden vote was a second resolution that passed at the same time, which called out the EU for not doing more to implement a previous resolution condemning the mass surveillance of Europeans. (Snowden gave testimony last year to the parliament via video chat prior to the resolutions adoption.)
So this resolution doesn’t really do much to help Snowden get out of Russia. In fact, it doesn’t help Snowden at all. It’s really just the EU’s passive-aggressive way of throwing shade at the U.S. Snowden needs to wise up and realize when he’s won and when he’s just a pawn being used by a foreign government.