US State Department Unable to Explain Difference Between Panama & Snowden Revelations

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

8th April, 2016

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The US State Department has stated that it supported the work of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, who published an archive of Panamanian documents, which contains information from the law firm Mossack Fonseca. The experts’ attention was drawn to the fact that previously in such a situation, the State Department took the opposite position: in 2013, the US government called Edward Snowden’s revelations a betrayal, and said that the declassification of information is a crime.

The media is wondering why the Panama papers contain so little information about American companies and individuals. Experts believe that the citizens of the US have no need to hide their assets abroad, as they can easily do it at home.

They don’t have to go to Panama and other offshore zones. Not only because there are corrupt officials and other criminals to launder money. This can be done in any state of the United States. In 2015, the United States ranked third in the index of financial opacity. Financial analysts say that under current US tax law, companies are not required to disclose information about beneficiaries.

During a regular briefing, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was asked to clarify Washington’s position regarding the Panama documents.

“In fact, you support the publication of these papers, right? In the case of WikiLeaks and the documents of Edward Snowden , the US government publicly stated that it was theft,” said Associated Press reporter Matt Lee to the representative of the State Department.

“We already talked about the fact that any profession, including in the legal field, should have a certain degree of privacy. Now I can’t say if we would declare the incident a theft,” said Toner.

Earlier, in the case of the WikiLeaks revelations, the US government taken a clear position, expressing the declassification of documents as theft. At the time, representative of the US State Department Jen Psaki declared “a patriot would not divulge classified information and endanger people,” and Press-Secretary of the US Department of State Philip Crowley called the “declassification of information” a crime.

“Obviously, we are dealing with hypocrisy. On the one hand, American authorities are promoting information disclosure and treat the whistleblowers as witnesses, but if someone exposes their violation, they immediately call that person a traitor. That’s the trend,” explained former FBI agent Coleen Rowley.

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