With less than two months until Election Day, former NSA contractor and world-famed whistleblower Edward Snowden urges President Obama to pardon him. The request comes a month after the U.S. president has commuted sentences of about 200 people.
It is the largest batch of presidential clemencies per day in over 100 years. And analysts expect more to come along with some pardons. But if Obama will consider some pardons, one American thinks he should be put on the list.
Edward Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013, after he leaked some classified information he had obtained during his work as a National Security Agency contractor. Snowden landed on the U.S.’ most-wanted list for compromising national security by revealing spicy details on the country’s mass-surveillance programs.
Snowden Makes ‘Moral’ Case
On Monday, Snowden said in an interview the president should pardon him since his actions have been “morally correct.” He explained that by the “laws in the books” he should face trial. But there are a few exceptions from a moral standpoint even though they look unlawful in the books.
Snowden believes that he’s that exception and the U.S. president should pardon him. He added that when one looks “ethically” at what he has done and the results of is actions one can see those were “vital things” to do.
He delivered the interview via a video channel from Moscow where he currently resides. He’s been living there since June 2013, when he fled his home country to Hong Kong to leak the documents.
His disclosure led to countless news reports on the U.S. and U.K. governments’ mass surveillance practices. Reportedly, the two governments tracked the communications of other governments, telecoms, and millions of their own residents.
The scandal prompted Congress to review privacy legislation and the targeted programs.
On Monday, Snowden told a journalist at The Guardian that without his disclosures, America “would be worse off.”
The Pardon Highly Unlikely
A U.S president can pardon only people having a conviction or crime charges. Three years ago, U.S. authorities charged the NSA whistleblower with communication of national defense information and intelligence information to unauthorized entities and theft of government property.
The first two charges are based on the nearly-100-year-old Espionage Act which punishes spies. Snowden now risks 10 years in prison for each charge.
He recently said that after 2013 the U.S. legislation greatly changed. He noted that his leaks prompted Congress, Obama administration and courts to change policies. Moreover, the disclosers never harmed anyone, Snowden says, or at least there is no “public evidence” of it.
The exile hasn’t stopped Snowden from making the headlines. He’s an active advocate of the First Amendment rights and freedom of the press. He delivers speeches and video conferences all around the world. Also, made a Twitter account a year ago just to troll NSA officials.
Amnesty International pledged this week to support the former contractor in achieving the pardon.
Yet, analysts believe that only a miracle could grant Snowden clemency. Last year, the administration rejected a pardon petition signed by about 168,000 Americans.
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