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Thursday, December 12, 2013

About that Snowden Oath


Ran into an odd myth that needs quashing.  As far as I know, this is a new one, that federal contractors are required to take some sort of oath as a condition of employment.  No, there is no oath involved.  At best it is a misinterpretation of 5 U.S.C. §3331:
An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law.

The first sentence tells you who needs to take this oath, and contractors are not in that set.  I was a defense contractor for quite a while and I never took an oath of any kind in relation to those jobs.  As a Soldier, yes I took several.  Another contractor and I discussed it in a thread here, where we responded to the same myth, repeated this morning at Reason, buy none other than judge Andrew Napolitano:
The conspiracy he revealed is vast. It involves former President George W. Bush, President Obama and their aides, a dozen or so members of Congress, federal judges, executives and technicians at American computer servers and telecoms, and the thousands of NSA employees and vendors who have manipulated their fellow conspirators. The conspirators all agreed that it would be a crime for any of them to reveal the conspiracy. Snowden violated that agreement in order to uphold his higher oath to defend the Constitution.
Emphasis mine.

Unless Edward Snowden had some actual, direct employment by the federal government, he swore no oath.  He probably had non-disclosure agreements with his employer and with his clients at the National Security Agency, maybe others, but he did no oath swearing.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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