Since Edward Snowden aired the National Security Agency’s (NSA) dirty laundry the United States government has wanted his head. Meanwhile far saner individuals have been begging the White House to pardon him. This begging came in the form of a petition posted on the White House website that has been ignored since 2013. After two long years the White House has finally given its answer — Edward Snowden will not be pardoned:
Unsurprisingly, the White House formally announced Tuesday that it will not be granting a pardon to Edward Snowden anytime soon.
Immediately after Snowden was formally charged in 2013 with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property, supporters began petitioning the White House to pardon the famed former National Security Agency contractor.
I don’t think anybody is surprised. Snowden’s actions made the Internet a safer place for everybody and that directly conflicts with the White House’s desire to spy on everybody. Any decent nation would give somebody like Snowden, who revealed unlawful activities being perpetrated by a government agency, a medal and declare a nation holiday in his honor.
Adding further insult to injury Lisa Monaco, who is apparently the president’s adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, made this laughable statement to justify the White House’s decision not to granted a pardon:
Instead of constructively addressing these [civil liberties] 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.
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.
I say the statement is laughable because the last time a whistle blower tried to “constructively address” the NSA’s unlawful activities the state sicced the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on them. Back in 2001 William Binney tried going through the appropriate channels to get the NSA’s domestic spying activities addressed. He ended up looking down the barrel of several FBI agents’ guns as they raided him home in an attempt to intimidate him into shutting up. That was one of several good stories he told on the panel discussion I was on with him.
When you threaten somebody at gunpoint for trying to get the NSA’s domestic spying addressed through proper channels you can’t expect the next person to do the same.