Edward Snowden Clemency: What Do You Say, Obama?

    January 2, 2014

Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower who exposed the U.S. governmental spy agencies and what they did that infringed on U.S. citizens, as well as some of its allies. He deserves clemency — or even a full pardon from President Barack Obama.

That’s the request put forth to President Obama by the New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, urging him to drop his insistence that Snowden come home to face trial.

“When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,” the Times argued. “President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.”

Mr. Snowden is currently charged with two violations of the Espionage Act involving unauthorized communication of classified information, and a charge of theft of government property. Those three charges carry prison sentences of 10 years each, and when the case is presented to a grand jury for indictment, the government is virtually certain to add more charges, probably adding up to a life sentence that Mr. Snowden is understandably trying to avoid.

The National Security Administration (NSA) and the U.S. government have pretty much banned Edward Snowden from the U.S., unless he wants to spend his life in prison. He did take information that did not belong to him, to the tune of 1.7, more or less, documents that were “highly classified”.

Many American’s are grateful that he did, although the documents were classified, they revealed information about the U.S. government’s surveillance tactics, information that the public had a right to know.

These files showed how the NSA was forcing American technology companies to hand over private customer information, without warrants to allow legal access to the information, and they also revealed how data from phone and Internet records were intercepted without the users knowledge.

While the release of these documents forced Snowden to flee the U.S., no doubt in fear of the possible NSA and governmental ramifications that he would face, and move to Russia. Remember though, it also alerted the American public — and many U.S. allies — of the government’s intrusive, unethical and possibly unlawful spying efforts.

Snowden’s actions have prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to sue the NSA. The suit aims to force the U.S. government to disclose details of its electronic surveillance program and describe what protections it provides to Americans whose communications are swept up during the search for terrorist suspects, Reuters reported.

Snowden should be treated as a hero not a criminal and Obama should consider that when making his final decision.

Image via Wikimedia Commons