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Edward Snowden explains why Obama should pardon him

'These were necessary things, these were vital things,' Snowden tells the Guardian.
Jessica Conditt, @JessConditt
September 13, 2016
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Reuters/Mark Blinch

Edward Snowden laid out the reasons he should receive a pardon from President Obama in an interview with the Guardian, saying that while his actions as a whistleblower were technically illegal, they benefited citizens of the United States.

"I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed," Snowden told the Guardian. "The Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result."

Snowden is having a busy week. A biopic about his life before and after he leaked classified documents detailing the NSA's global surveillance systems hits theaters on Friday, and on Monday two of the most prominent human rights organizations in the United States launched a public campaign to convince Obama to Pardon Snowden. He is currently living in exile in Russia.

The ACLU, which acts as Snowden's legal adviser, on Monday launched a petition seeking 60,000 signatures in support of granting Snowden clemency. As of publication, it has more than 57,000 signatures.

"There are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists -- for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," Snowden told the Guardian.

Obama is unlikely to pardon Snowden, as he has just months left in office and his administration has not shown leniency when it comes to whistleblowers.

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