The New York Times and The Guardian Call For Snowden To Be Offered Clemency

Last night,
The Guardian
, which has been reporting on the
information leaked by Edward Snowden, published an editorial
calling for the NSA whistle-blower to be granted a pardon by the
Obama administration:

Mr Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even
though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of some
moral courage. Presidents – from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald
Reagan – have issued pardons. The debate that Mr Snowden has
facilitated will no doubt be argued over in the US supreme court.
If those justices agree with Mr Obama’s own review panel and Judge
Richard Leon in finding that Mr Snowden did, indeed, raise serious
matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or,
worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could
be treated as a traitor or common felon? We hope that calm heads
within the present administration are working on a strategy to
allow Mr Snowden to return to the US with dignity, and the
president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in
a manner that would be a shining example about the value of
whistleblowers and of free speech itself.

The Guardian editorial highlights how aggressively the
Obama administration (supposedly
the most
in history
) has been in prosecuting whistle-blowers:

Mr Obama has shown little patience for whistleblowers: his
administration has used the Espionage Act against leakers of
classified information far more than any of his predecessors.

On the same day the Guardian editorial was
published The
New York Times
also published an editorial relating to
Snowden, calling for him to be either granted a plea bargain “or
some form of clemency” while highlighting the value of the
information he leaked:

Considering the enormous value of the information he has
revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves
better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have
committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great
service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a
plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to
return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in
light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life
advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the
runaway intelligence community.

The Times editorial also makes the important point
oftentimes overlooked or ignored by those who support the American
intelligence agencies’ behavior:

The shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done
profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States,
but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures
really hurt the nation’s security. Many of the mass-collection
programs Mr. Snowden exposed would work just as well if they were
reduced in scope and brought under strict outside oversight, as the
presidential panel recommended.

It’s unlikely that the Obama administration will be offering
Snowden a pardon or a plea bargain any time soon. Last month,
National Security Adviser
Susan Rice
rejected calls for Snowden to be granted amnesty,
saying that “We don’t think that Snowden deserves amnesty. We
believe he should come back.”

More from on Snowden here.

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.