NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has asked for presidential pardon on moral and ethical grounds from the US president Barack Obama who will be leaving office after the election. A Pardon Snowden campaign has also begun to support Snowden and his presidential pardon request.
Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents that revealed the scale of U.S. and British surveillance, has made an appeal to Barack Obama to grant him a presidential pardon before leaving office.
Snowden, whose disclosures included the revelation that the U.S. National Security Agency was collecting “metadata” on Americans’ phone calls, is living in exile in Moscow, and would face up to 30 years in prison if he returned to the U.S.
Many supporters, media folks like the NY Times Editorial, former US attorney general Eric Holder, and previous NSA members have defended Snowden’s “public service” which benefitted the citizens who were in the dark. President Obama himself has been a constitutional lawyer who defended privacy and was concerned about mass surveillance.
“Snowden”, a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, is scheduled to release on September 16 and may contribute to the popularity of the Pardon Snowden campaign.
Edward Snowden argued in a new interview that his massive leak of NSA surveillance activities was “not only morally right” but also “left citizens better off,” as he called on President Obama to grant him a pardon before he leaves office in January.
Speaking to The Guardian via a video link from Moscow where he is in exile, the former NSA contractor said that when assessing the consequences of his disclosures, it should be clear that people had benefitted.
“Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists — for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things,” he said.
Meanwhile, the White House says President Barack Obama continues to believe that the former National Security Agency contractor should return to the United States to face charges for leaking classified information.
Here are the complete list of Pardon granted by US president.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday reiterated Obama’s position that Snowden’s leaks “damaged the United States,” harmed national security and put Americans at risk.
Earnest said Snowden will be “treated fairly and consistent with the law” if he returns to the US.
As an NSA contractor, Snowden leaked classified details in 2013 of the US government’s warrantless surveillance program before fleeing to Russia.
He faces US charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.
Last year, the White House rejected a petition signed by more than 150,000 urging a pardon for Snowden, saying he should be “judged by a jury of his peers”.
Click here to add your name to the petition to pardon Edward Snowden.