White House Responds to Edward Snowden Petition
More than a 165,000 people signed a petition asking for Edward Snowden to be pardoned. A White House official responded to the petition recently, saying that the Snowden advocates forgot crucial elements of what he had done. According to Lisa Monaco, Snowden did not illuminate us all about the sinister elements at work within our government. Rather, he was a security problem from the beginning. From her response:
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. […] 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.
Snowden presently lives in Russia, though he has been working on gaining citizenship elsewhere from early on. Snowden’s largest crimes involve leaking troves of data from the NSA and other agencies of the US government that revealed widespread surveillance programs. Snowden knew that he would be immediately arrested for leaking this data, and so he fled the country prior to the revelation. He communicated primarily with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.
Recent evaluations have shown that it may take a very long time for all of the data from Snowden’s dumps to ever get released. The magnitude of the data and the things that are implied have been an issue from the start.
The White House cannot afford to offer an olive branch to Edward Snowden, nor could later administrations. They do not want to make it seem acceptable to hack the country’s most sensitive agencies, for any reason.
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