Breitbart reports that many Republicans are calling upon President Donald Trump to pardon Edward Snowden.
Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), is the man who blew the whistle on his own agency. He revealed to the public that the NSA was spying on the phones and computers of millions of Americans, and, as a result, he has been exiled.
Calls to pardon Snowden are gaining momentum
Leading the way here are some big-name Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
“James Clapper brazenly lied to Congress denying that the Deep State was spying on all Americans,” Paul tweeted. “@Snowden simply revealed Clapper’s lies and exposed unconstitutional spying. He deserves a pardon from @realDonaldTrump!”
Paul, in his tweet, was referring to the fact that Clapper in 2013 told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the NSA did not collect data from the phones and computers of millions of Americans. This, of course, was contradicted by the documents provided by Snowden.
In addition to Paul, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “President Trump is listening to the many of us who are urging him to #PardonSnowden. Its the right thing to do”
Will Trump do it?
President Donald Trump has stated on at least two occasions that he has been considering whether or not to pardon Snowden.
“I’m going to take a look at that very strongly,” the president said in August. Trump added that he is “not that aware of the Snowden situation” and that “it seems to be a split decision: Many people think he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things.”
That is indeed the case. Just after the president made those comments, Attorney General William Barr came out as “vehemently opposed” to a pardon for Snowden. Barr said:
[Snowden] was a traitor, and the information he provided our adversaries greatly hurt the safety of the American people. He was peddling it around like a commercial merchant. We can’t tolerate that.”
Barr’s viewpoint is shared by many on the right, who disagree with Paul, Gaetz, and those who think Snowden should be pardoned.
Snowden’s last chance
Breitbart reports: “For many, Trump is seen as Snowden’s only hope for an imminent pardon as a Biden/Harris administration is far less likely to do so, just as former President Barack Obama refused requests to pardon him while in office.”
It will certainly be interesting to see what President Trump decides. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who helped Snowden to blow the whistle, has argued that Trump is considering pardoning Snowden because “he feels personally aggrieved by the precise abuses of power that Snowden risked his liberty to expose.”