Edward Snowden Elected Rector Of Glasgow University In Scotland, But How Will He Serve His Three-Year Term From Russia?
Well, this was an unexpected career move. According to the BBC, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been elected rector of Glasgow University in Scotland, meaning he'll be the Glasgow students' elected representative. It's a prestigious position, held in the past by Winnie Mandela and '80s whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. Snowden succeeds a British political party leader, Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats, in the role.
Now, the money question: How on earth is Snowden going to work for a Scottish university when he has asylum in Russia, and only Russia? Plus, Snowden an American citizen, born and bred in North Carolina — not that he can go back to America anytime soon, unless he wants to face charges of espionage — and has no legal or immigration ties to the United Kingdom.
Well, it's thought that Snowden will work remotely for Glasgow University. It's not the first time the Scottish institution has elected an absent rector: Winnie Mandela and Vanunu were also remote representatives. Rectors each serve a three-year term, and Snowden beat out his runner-up opponent, Scottish clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth, with almost twice as many votes.
One of the university students who nominated Snowden, Lubna Nowak, told the BBC that the move was an explicit means of honoring Snowden's decision to release hundreds of thousands of classified NSA files to the British and American press. "I think we've shown that we oppose mass surveillance and intrusion to our private lives," Nowah said. "And that also we stand in solidarity — that we believe whistleblowers should be honoured and they're heroes rather than traitors."
It wasn't just America who faced the wrath of Snowden. The former analyst also leaked private security files from the United Kingdom, which revealed that UK intelligence agency GCHQ was also conducting surveillance operations on British citizens. And it was UK newspaper The Guardian, with its then-reporter Glen Greenwald, that initially published the NSA leaks, later in conjunction with major American papers like the Washington Post.
The UK government has taken a stern approach to Snowden and the leaks, and at one point officials allegedly went into the Guardian's basement and tried to destroy more leaked files. Bet they'll be happy about this...