November 17, 2014 Statement on the Edward Snowden Matter by Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, served as acting chief of communist Romania’s espionage service and top adviser to President Nicolae Ceausescu.
“The United States has been a beacon for the whole free world, but it is not a perfect country. As another proud American once put it, America, like all nations, is a collection of human beings, and human beings are notorious for occasionally making bad decisions. But this imperfect America has almost single-handedly kept peace, freedom and democracy alive in the world for the last hundred years. Millions around the world have been ready to pay any price to become citizens of this unique country. I am one of the few lucky ones who succeeded.
“For reasons we do not yet know, Edward Snowden went the other direction. He turned up in Moscow, following in the steps of three other NSA cryptologists: Bernon Mitchell, William Martin and Victor Norris Hamilton. All three had unsuccessfully asked to leave Russia soon after their defection. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Hamilton surfaced in a Russian mental hospital. He had been missing for more than 20 years, but no one in the whole world noticed his disappearance. Let's hope that Snowden, who also damaged the security of our country, will have the same fate.”