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US, British Newspapers Call for Snowden Clemency

A Washington Metro bus is seen with an Edward Snowden sign on its side panel, Dec. 20, 2013.
A Washington Metro bus is seen with an Edward Snowden sign on its side panel, Dec. 20, 2013.
VOA News
The New York Times and Britain's Guardian newspaper are calling for clemency for Edward Snowden, the former U.S. national security contractor who leaked a massive trove of details about clandestine American spying.

The 30-year-old Snowden is living in asylum in Russia as the United States seeks his return to face espionage charges and a lengthy prison term if he is convicted.

In an editorial Thursday, the Times said Snowden may have committed a crime, but said "he has done his country a great service" by giving Americans their first extensive information about the scope of the surveillance programs being conducted by the National Security Agency.

The Times said U.S. President Barack Obama should direct "his aides to begin finding a way to end Snowden's vilification."

The Guardian said Snowden's disclosure of the information was an "act of some moral courage," and Obama should allow him "to return to the U.S. with dignity."

A key NSA official investigating Snowden's leaks, Rick Ledgett, recently suggested that Snowden could be given amnesty if he handed over undisclosed documents he still has.  But the White House and other key U.S. intelligence officials have remained adamant in their call for Snowden's prosecution.

The Times says Snowden "was clearly justified" in his belief the only way to expose the information was to leak it to the public, rather than to work internally to get the NSA to reduce the amount of information it is collecting. The Guardian said he set "a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself."

Snowden leaked much of his information last year to the Guardian and The Washington Post, which have published voluminous accounts of the U.S. spying, including its collection of records of millions of telephone calls, including the numbers called and the length and dates of the calls, although not the content.  American spy chiefs say the United States needs the information to thwart new terrorist attacks against itself and other countries.

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Comments
     
by: Joseph Effiong from: Uyo - Nigeria
January 03, 2014 11:54 AM
What sort of clemency he is to be granted ? Someone that betrayed his county. Why didn't he leaked his father's secret to the public . The russia that now granted him asylum, could russia tolerate the crime Snowden committed ? He should be brought to justice.


by: avlisk from: Phoenix, AZ
January 03, 2014 7:31 AM
Snowden is a hero to this American. Our government is out of control and not what our Founding Fathers envisioned. Snowden is the advance-man on what I hope continues and builds with the waking up of the population and the setting right to a country well off the tracks. Clemency? Sure, for the politicians and especially the President who are wildly trashing our Constitution at every turn.


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
January 02, 2014 10:24 PM
The press and media thrive on leaks of classified government information. The press that indulge on leaks of such information is also guilty of violation of law, stealing the classified information and profiting from using such information to increase their circulation. The press and media are also guilty as Snowden. No wonder the press want to pardon Snowden while the patriotic public want Snowden brought to justice with the fullest extend of the law.


by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
January 02, 2014 9:48 PM
Yes.
Edward Snowden should get a plea bargain agreement from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
It is clearly in all our national security interests get him out of Russia.

It is also clear that a pathway for all intelligence community, so-called, "whistleblowers" to come forward without fear of retribution before a "million Snowdens blossom".

I am honestly and deeply conflicted over Edward Snowden because it's ordinary people that defend the walls of the republic.


by: Julius Lannutti from: Hawaii
January 02, 2014 1:50 PM
I liken Snowden and Manning to the two witnesses's in revelations.. who used to work for military, and now dont.


by: rbockman from: revolutionistPhiladelphia
January 02, 2014 1:45 PM
no clemency, no plead deal, no leniency, just the end of a hangman's rope. Who cares what an Englishman thinks.

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