Portrait of Coleen Rowley by realist painter Robert Shetterly in the series, “Americans Who Tell the Truth: Models of Courageous Citzenship.”
Within Robert Shetterly’s portrait of her in his series “Americans Who Tell the Truth,” a quote from Coleen Rowley reads: “What if you lived in a country where, after the Administration negligently failed to prevent a major terrorist attack, they deliberately exploited everyone’s fears and utilized shock doctrine to do insanely stupid and dangerous things: things like launching costly preemptive wars, subverting law, and destroying the checks and balances of the Constitution and common standards of decency by reinstituting torture? Well, we do live in that country.” But Edward Snowden does not. Not any more. After working for a government contractor and blowing the whistle on the NSA’s massive surveillance of Americans, he is living in exile in Russia. That’s why Coleen, along with three other U.S. whistleblowers, all Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, had to travel to Moscow this past October in order to deliver an award to him. Together with Coleen, former high-ranking CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former senior NSA official Thomas Drake, and Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department professional responsibility official, awarded Snowden the Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder. (Sam Adams was a CIA analyst whose efforts to expose truth about the Vietnam War were thwarted within official channels.) Coleen commented on the visit with Snowden: “We had quite a bit of time to talk to him, even without his attorney present. I have not met anyone so squared away, so well grounded. He is solely focused on the issue of reform. He kept bringing the conversation back to how the massive spy operation can be fixed and about what efforts could be launched in Europe and in the United States. He had just given a statement that was read by proxy to the European Union Committee on Human Rights the week before and so there was discussion on how that could be built on and maybe how in the United States he could testify before Congress.” Early in November, Snowden sent a letter via a German parliamentarian, stating that he would like to testify before the U.S. Congress about surveillance activities. (In the wake of revelations that the NSA spied on German citizens, including the cell phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Markel, he also said he would testify in Germany.) But U.S. officials continue to reiterate that, though they would not torture or kill him, he will face felony charges for leaking classified information, making it obvious that they prefer to punish him for telling the truth rather than have him testify within government channels. Coleen Rowley as Chief Division Counsel for the FBI in Minneapolis, was allowed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002 on pre-9-11 failures. Since leaving the FBI, for several years now, she has been an uber justice and peace activist—and we are proud to make this full disclosure—serves on the all-volunteer WAMM Board. One of her concerns is that the NSA, with both its government agencies and private contractors, wants to listen in on everyone! “NSA with both its government agencies and private contractors wants to listen in on everyone! Edward Snowden blew the whistle so all of us could hear when he said, “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity, or love, or friendship is recorded, and that’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.”
Edward Snowden receiving the Sam Adams Award [Corner Brightener Candlestick Holder] in Moscow. Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Raddack, Edward Snowden, Sarah Harrison (WikiLeaks journalist), Ray McGovern.