Snowden’s Pardon Plea Ahead of Movie Release Unlikely to be Heard

Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified intelligence documents and faces at least 30 years in jail.

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 Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo: Reuters)

The US government will not budge on its demand that Edward Snowden return to face prosecution, despite new calls for President Barack Obama to pardon him, officials said on Tuesday. The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor leaked thousands of classified intelligence documents and faces at least 30 years in jail.

The officials said they expect Snowden’s supporters to use the Thursday release of Snowden, directed by veteran filmmaker Oliver Stone, to mount a public campaign demanding a pardon before Obama leaves office in January.

The world famous whistle-blower made his case for a presidential pardon in an interview with The Guardian published on Tuesday. He said his decision to leak the documents was not only ethical but had left citizens better off.

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 and ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary and vital things.
Edward Snowden to The Guardian

Snowden, who lives in Moscow, is scheduled to appear via video link on Wednesday at a New York press conference, where advocates from human rights groups will call for a pardon.

They argue that Snowden performed a public service by exposing excessive and intrusive electronic spying by the intelligence agency and its English-speaking allies, including Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

In the interview, Snowden said the US Congress, the courts and the president all “changed their policies” as a result of his disclosures, and that “there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that Snowden is charged with “serious crimes, and it’s the policy of the administration that Mr Snowden should return to the United States and face those charges.”

Two other US officials said there are no discussions inside the Justice Department about granting him a pardon.

Some officials have acknowledged that Snowden raised legitimate questions about the extent and effectiveness of some electronic eavesdropping, particularly the NSA’s sweeping collection of “metadata” on domestic telephone calls by Americans, a practice that was curtailed after his revelations.

Other officials, however, say the material Snowden gave the media included sensitive details about the locations and operations of US and allied global spying operations, some of which were compromised.

Source: Reuters and The Guardian

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