October 14, 2020

Time to Pardon Edward Snowden?

Time to Pardon Edward Snowden?

In 2013, Edward Snowden, a contractor with the NSA, leaked documents to journalists that exposed the United States mass surveillance program of Americans’ telephone records. When Snowden leaked the documents, he fled immediately to Russia as he was, and still is, facing US espionage changes.

However, seven years later on September 2, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the U.S. surveillance of phone records was indeed illegal. In the ruling they said “the metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization … which required the government to make a showing of relevance to a particular authorized investigation before collecting the records …” and the U.S. government agency went as far as to give credit to Snowden for exposing the practice.

Given that the U.S. Court of Appeals, and many leading US politicians, including President Trump have now come to Snowden’s defense, there is only one course of action left to take: the U.S. must pardon Snowden and allow him to safely return to his family and home country the United States.

In a post on Twitter following the ruling, Snowden said: “Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them.” He continued: “and yet that day has arrived.”  It is that credit to him, given by the courts that shows his actions were justified and should be protected under whistleblower laws.

Snowden exposed what we now know was an illegal practice and his act of whistleblowing was justified in defense of Americans’ freedom and privacy rights.

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Image: Gage Skidmore