Edward Snowden has requested Barack Obama to grant him a pardon before the U.S. president leaves office in January.
The former NSA contractor argued that his release of the massive scale of surveillance conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies was the right thing to do. He also said that the revelation aided citizens as well.
Snowden is wanted in the United States. He was accused of violating the Espionage Act, and if charged, he would face at least 30 years in jail. On Monday, he spoke via video from Moscow. He has been living in exile there.
Snowden said that evaluation of his leak of thousands of National Security Agency and GCHQ documents in 2013 would show how much people benefited.
“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.
A website was created to submit a mass deputation to Obama regarding pardoning the U.S. whistleblower. PardonSnowden.org has been insisting U.S. citizens to sign an online petition to ask the president to take charges off Snowden.
“Thanks to his act of conscience, America’s surveillance programs have been subjected to democratic scrutiny, the NSA’s surveillance powers were reined in for the first time in decades, and technology companies around the world are newly invigorated to protect their customers and strengthen our communications infrastructure,” the website says.
The website said that the former NSA contractor must be hailed a hero, for he stood up for the people when it was most needed. The charges, under which he is accused of, are nothing but WW1 era charges.
Chances of Obama pardoning the whistleblower seems bleak. On the other hand, Obama’s former attorney general Eric Holder gave a surprising encouragement to the campaign in May. Holder had said that the former NSA contractor did perform a public service.