THE BLOG

Transparency International Nixes Edward Snowden

02/10/2014 05:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 31, 2014

When Transparency International (TI) met in November 2013 for its annual meeting in Berlin, on the table was a resolution, sponsored by TI Germany and TI Ireland, that called for "a comprehensive protection on whistleblowers from all forms of retaliation around the world and an end of the prosecution of Edward J. Snowden."

"He should be recognized as a whistleblower for his help to reveal the over-reaching and unlawful surveillance by secret services," the resolution read. "He should be able to freely choose where he wants to live. Edward J. Snowden is not alone in his actions. He symbolizes the courage of numerous other whistleblowers around the world."

But when the final resolution was issued, gone was the call for "a comprehensive protection on whistleblowers from all forms of retaliation."

And also gone was any mention of Edward J. Snowden.

Why?

TI Ireland felt strongly about protecting Snowden as did TI Germany.

In fact, in July 2013, TI Germany joined two other German groups and gave Snowden a Whistleblower Prize worth about $4,000.

But at the November meeting in Berlin, TI's final resolution, passed by the membership, was sponsored by not only TI Germany and TI Ireland, but also by TI USA.

"The whistleblower resolution was watered down by the US delegation," one TI insider who asked not to be identified told Corporate Crime Reporter. "TI USA is very corporate oriented, very inside the Beltway oriented."

TI USA's board of directors is dominated by corporate defense lawyers, including its chair, Alan Larson of Covington & Burling, Lucinda Low of Steptoe & Johnson, Peter Clark of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, Mark Mendelsohn of Paul Weiss, Larry Thompson of PepsiCo, Glenn Ware of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Frederick Curry of Deloitte, and Michael Hershman of the Fairfax Group.

According to a participants list, TI USA was represented at the Berlin meeting by TI USA CEO, Claudia Dumas, and by Steptoe's Lucinda Low and Covington's Alan Larson.

Companies that give $50,000 or more to TI USA include Bechtel, Deloitte, Exxon Mobil, Google, Pfizer and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

In 2012, TI USA gave it's annual integrity award to Coca-Cola and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Another sign of the tensions within Transparency International over the Snowden matter involved a meeting with Snowden in Russia.

When Snowden went to Russia in June 2013, he asked to meet at the Moscow airport with representatives of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International. Snowden ended up meeting with representatives from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty. Transparency International didn't send a representative to meet with Snowden.

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