Tuesday, June 28, 2016

President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden before leaving office | The Verge

Yes he can

"But there’s something more important than political blowback. Pardoning Snowden is the right thing to do, and if you care about a free and secure internet, you should support it. Snowden risked his life to perform one of the most pivotal public disclosures of our time, shedding light on surveillance systems that have grown far beyond the reach of democratic accountability. The documents he published — the source of his crime — have brought about profound changes in the way we build technology and communicate online. His continued exile is shameful, and ending it is a unique chance to reclaim the legacy of a president who has often failed to live up to his own promises of transparency.

Clemency is particularly important because it will be impossible to defend Snowden’s leaks as a public service in court. He is facing charges under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between delivering classified files to journalists and delivering the same files to a foreign power. For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. (Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers was a rare exception.) The argument Wizner is making now — that Snowden’s disclosures were in the public interest, and strengthened the nation rather than weakening it — couldn’t be made in the context of an Espionage Act trial. As long as classified documents were disclosed, which they indisputably were, then all other questions are moot."
President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden before leaving office | The Verge
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