In a new interview with the Guardian, whistleblower Edward Snowden explains why U.S. President Barack Obama should pardon him for leaking documents that revealed the government’s mass surveillance operations.
Snowden, currently in exile in Russia, faces at least 30 years in jail for allegedly violating the Espionage Act with his 2013 disclosures. But in a video interview from Moscow, the 33-year-old National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower said Obama should take into consideration that people had benefited from his actions.
“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, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things,” he said.
“I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed,” Snowden continued. “The Congress, the courts, and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”
“If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations,” he declared, “we would be worse off.”
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Snowden’s statements come just before the release this week of Oliver Stone’s biopic, Snowden, which his supporters hope will help make a sympathetic case for the whistleblower. And, as Common Dreams reported Monday, civil liberties groups are launching a formal campaign Wednesday calling on Obama to pardon Snowden.
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