It only took two years, but the White House has finally gotten around to providing a response to a petition asking for the pardon of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Official answer: nope.
“As the President said in announcing recent intelligence reforms, ‘We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require.’ Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” says Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s Advisor on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly – accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers – not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions.”
The original petition, on the White House’ We The People site, was published on June 9th, 2013. Here’s what it says:
Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.
The petition has garnered nearly 168,000 signatures, although it’s been closed for a while.
“We will do our best to respond to petitions that cross the signature threshold in a timely fashion, however, depending on the topic and the overall volume of petitions from We the People, responses may be delayed,” the White House says on the site.
This usually means 60 days from when said petition hits the signature threshold – which is 100,000 in 30 days.
But as we’ve seen for many years, the White House isn’t that punctual.
It did take the administration only three months to respond to the deport Justin Bieber petition, however.